Sting operations are morally, ethically and professionally wrong: Kuldip Nayar

Bara Banki: "Sting operations are morally, ethically and professionally wrong, they are pure drama and stunt, aimed at creating sensationalism. This is not responsible journalism." These were the views of veteran journalist and chief patron of Media Nest, while speaking in a seminar "Sting operation: trial by fire", organized by Media Nest at Jahangirabad Media Institute  at Bara Banki on 13 November 2010. Read more

Media Nest, a registered pan India forum of media professionals had organized the seminar as part of its day long celebrations on its third anniversary.

Asserting that if the means are wrong the results cannot be right Mr. Nayar urged media persons to practice responsible journalism and to follow the code of ethical reporting norms. He said the work of a journalist is to report the truth and only the truth and he should not act as a CID or policeman.
“Media is the Fourth Estate of a democracy and must be strongly rooted in truth, if they do not speak the truth who will,” said Mr. Nayar  

Editor of Urdu weekly Jadeed Markaz, Hissamul Siddiqui in his address earlier termed sting as a “blatant invasion of one’s privacy.”

“Sting is a dangerous trend. Mainly done due to personal and professional rivalry, mostly staged managed, sting is driven by vested and commercial interests and the sting targets are on ‘soft targets,” said Siddiqui blaming media for cheating its viewers into believing which is not the truth.
Agreeing with him in the tenor was senior BBC correspondent Ramdutt Tripathi

“The first pre-requisite of journalism is that the reporter should be ‘detached’ from the subject, but this is not possible in a sting because the reporter is a party to the whole thing. Therefore sting violates the reporter’s code of ethics,” said Mr. Tripathi.    

But speakers like ETV senior correspondent Khurram Nizami, and senior journalist and President of Media Nest, Sharat Pradhan defended sting saying it is essential and vital in today’s world where corruption is rampant.

Going into the genesis of sting, Khurram who has done many sting operations said that requires time, effort and through planning. He said before a sting operation the essential thing is to have all the evidence and documents in one’s hand.

“Sting is a double edged sword, it should be used carefully. It must be ensured that it is being done to benefit society and is not aimed at raising the TRP of the channel,” said Nizami.

“We need sting operations to expose the untruth,” asserted Sharat Pradhan adding that if the aim is pious the means used can be justified.”

Ajay Upreti, The Week’s senior correspondent spoke about sting and how it evolved.

Though the speakers differed in their views on the subject they all said that any sting or report in public interest and in the national security is justified.

The secretary general of Media Nest, Kulsum Talha in her welcome address talked about how Media Nest came along and how it has been working. She highlighted the major events of these three years.
MN will on the day also announce its three flagship programme -Medical group insurance for Media persons and families, special health camps plans for media persons and lastly computer literacy workshops for retired and journalists of remote districts.

“It has been the privilege of Media Nest, to work with UNICEF as partners on vital children’s issue for the past several years. In a historic move, still unparallel by any other press body, the UP Press Club has been generous to open its premises two afternoons, every month, for engaging with children’ issues (Media for Children). From May 2010, on the special request of the other Press Clubs Media Nest has been holding a session on children every month at different Press Clubs in the district,” informed Ms Talha.

In the second half of the celebrations Media for Children was held. “Babu behni manch children who had come from Maharajganj, Gorakhpur spoke about their work in highlighting Children’s rights.
“They do this through mimes, corner plays, sketches, comic,” said Ramachandra of J N K Plan, which had trained children on media advocacy.  

Media Nest has through Media for Children attempted to ensure that the children of Uttar Pradesh, especially those from the under-privileged section of society get a voice, their demands are heard and their pain shared. M4C is   ‘media movement for children’.

The programme was conducted by journalist Durgesh Narain Shukla.

Kulsum Mustafa
(The author is a senior journalist and also serves as Secretary General of Media Nest)