Friday, September 07, 2007

Sting operations and lies

The media is an extremely powerful entity, and can make or change fortunes in this country (actually in almost all countries). While good coverage of a person in a newspaper or TV can make the person a celebrity, there is a negative side as well. With most libel laws left weak so that the investigative powers of the media are not curtailed, there is a great tendency for misuse.
Take for example, the very thing that is most famous nowadays, sting operations. In a country such as ours where the corruption level is very high and present at all levels, there have been many sting operations that have helped immensely to expose the rot and corruption - examples being the Tehelka exposes, the cash for questions MP scandal, and numerous other smaller scandals where a hidden TV camera exposes the corrupt and showcases the corrupt person on prime TV.
However, in the US and other Western countries, any such expose or sting operations by a major media entity is fully vetted before proceeding, with confirmation being received before publishing. However, in the current case of the sting operation involving the teacher, it seems very obvious that in the crowded world of TV channels, people are willing to let confirmation and proof go by. What is more important is the scandal. And that is precisely what seems to have happened when a TV channel allowed a reported to carry out his own revenge in the name of a expose:

Delhi Police on Friday detained for questioning a TV channel reporter who conducted a sting operation on a government school teacher in an attempt to show that she was running a prostitution racket.
The channel had aired the sting operation on August 30 which purportedly showed the woman telling the reporter that Khurana had allegedly filmed her in "compromising position" and had forced her into prostitution.

After viewing the full version, the police appears to have concluded that the lady was in fact framed by the channel reported to carry out a person vendetta, and he along with his helpers have been arrested. One is not so sure as to what happens next, but it is a fact that the reputation of the lady, Uma Khurana has been dragged through the mud, she has been mishandled by a crowd, and has been fired from her job.
The last part was all the more surprising. In a short panel meeting coordinated by the education minister based on viewing the tapes, she was actually dismissed from her job. Just goes to show how seriously our panels take their job, and how quick politicians are to latch onto something that they see as a public cause.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 8:12 AM