Why Sting Operations by Media Should be Discouraged?

August 23rd, 20119:43 pm @    

   “I should rather have a completely free press, with all the dangers involved in the wrong use of that freedom, than a suppressed or regulated press.”

– Jawaharlal Nehru

He uses the aforesaid quotation in the context as to, for the smooth administration of the justice in the state like India where democracy is prevailing, he attempts to enshrine the role of media. Hence he says freedom of media is an estate of democracy.

Now let me briefly explain you all, the concept “STING OPERATION”

“In law enforcement, a sting operation is a deceptive operation designed to catch a person committing a crime. A typical sting will have a law-enforcement officer or cooperative member of the public play a role as criminal partner or potential victim and go along with a suspect’s actions to gather evidence of the suspect’s wrongdoing.”

 And now the question arises- Are there any provisions regarding this “STING OPERATION” in the constitution of India passed in year 1950 provided for the freedom of press?

Our constitution has provided freedom of speech and expression to all the citizens of India. It is stated that freedom of speech is a species of which freedom of press is a genes. The press has the freedom to express. But now a day the press is using excess of freedom and violating all its restrictions, and is harming the rights of others.

The press is conducting sting operations on the cases which are pending before the court of law, and trying to interfere in the administration of justice.

By conducting the sting operations it affects the right to privacy of an individual. By telecasting the sting video on the T.V. Channels the reputation of a person in the society will be effected.

There are instances in such a situation the person may feel guilty and can think of committing suicide.

On one hand we can see that there is express provision in our constitution as far as freedom of media is concerned and on other hand there are some interpretations that this freedom of media would affect the fair trial or right to privacy provided under our constitution. It would be correct to site a case i.e.

R. K. Anand v. Registrar Delhi High Court.

The NDTV channel had conducted the sting operation, in which it was recorded that they were talking about offering the money and in return of change of the testimony.

The NDTV has done a good job in conducting the sting operation and has clearly shown the hampering the witness by the advocates and has not interfered with or obstructed the due course of any judicial procedure – rather, it was intended to prevent the attempt to interfere or obstruct the due course of law in “BMW hit – and – run” trial.

Though the NDTV has done a good job, it harmed the reputation of the noted advocates in the society by telecasting it in the NDTV

The Hon’ble Supreme Court has also stated in its judgment that media i.e. NDTV should have carried out the operation only after obtaining the permission of the trial court or the Chief Justice of the Delhi high Court and should have submitted the sting materials to the court before its telecast.

Instead of submitting the materials to the court the TV channel had broadcasted it in its channel which shows that such an act was done  to increase its TRP.

For the successful democracy, it is the duty of the media to see that the justice is maintained. I agree that it is the prime duty of the judiciary to see to that justice is delivered and peace is maintained. When the judiciary fails in finding out the hidden evidences for the trial of any cases in court of law it is the implied duty of the media to help the judiciary to discover the hidden evidence and assist in accomplishing the purpose. As far as Indian evidence Act is concerned, it recognises the records produced by the media as the valid evidence when the primary evidence are absent.

Thus it is pertinent to infer from the above discussions that there are some provisions under Indian law to accept the concept of “STING OPERATION” but some laws are to be made regarding the regulation of the right of media not to telecast any material under the sting operation which affects the right to privacy and any other fundamental rights guaranteed under constitution of India. Sting operations by media must be undertaken in an responsible manner.

Hence to be precise it can be winded up with a suggestion that sting operations should be permitted but they should be produced before the court rather than telecasting it in the TV channel.

Article by

Harshawardhanagouda is a 2nd year under graduate student of law at the University College of Law, Dharwad. He is interested in legal research and attending Courts for observation. His aim is to practice at Supreme Court of India.

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