Sting Operations – Exposing Corruption or Just Increasing Trp’s
The late 90’s saw the emergence of media as a means of exposing corruption and, social and political discrepancies. The common man thought he had finally something that would help expose something unjustified, to which even central power often turned a blind eye to. Television and print media had never been as powerful in India before. One could now voice their opinion. But of late these news channels and newspapers, which earlier focused on exposing corrupt politicians, have begun to use sting operations to get a higher TRP and also grab the attention of the general public. Seeing these sting operations, one often tends to wonder if the accused is truly at fault or is he/she being framed. Though there are instances when the accused are truly at fault and the political/social instability is exposed. These sting operations however attract huge public attention and appreciation. But what does a channel/organization get from these operations? The answer is higher TRP, which helps them get more sponsorship, lots of money and a Strong brand name and market holding.
Some of the most common sting operations include the following issues:
- Deploying a bait car (also called a honey trap) to catch an auto thief
- Setting up a seemingly vulnerable honeypot computer to lure and gain information about crackers.
- Posing as someone who is seeking child pornography to catch a supplier
- Posing as a supplier of child pornography to catch a buyer
- Posing as a child in a chat room to lure a child molester
- Police arranging someone under the legal drinking age to ask an adult to buy alcoholic beverage for him or her
- Police also may ask a minor to attempt to purchase liquor, or cigarettes, without showing ID.
- An undercover officer posing as a potential customer to bust a prostitute.
- An undercover officer posing as a prostitute to bust a potential “customer”.
- Pose as a terrorist to catch terrorists
- Pose as a member of a hate group to catch members of hate groups
- Pose as an “Eco-Terrorist” to catch eco terrorists.
- Pose as militia members, tax protesters to catch domestic terrorists
Sting operations are fraught with ethical concerns over whether they constitute entrapment. Law enforcement may have to be careful not to provoke the commission of a crime by someone who would not normally be inclined to do so. Additionally, in the process of such operations, the police often engage in the same so-called crimes, often victimless, such as buying or selling contraband, soliciting prostitutes, etc. In common law jurisdictions, the defendant may invoke the defense of entrapment. For example, in the case of a drug sting if the police put pressure upon a person to sell drugs who initially refuses but is persuaded to do so then they could be seen as entrapping. However should the police indicate they wish to purchase drugs and a person offers to sell them, then there is no entrapment? This was just an example, from which one can clearly see that sting Operations may not be as transparent as they are said to be. A person could be forced to act illegally/immorally. or be tempted into doing something wrong even if they do not intend to do so. Both the positives and negatives can clearly be seen, and it is important for these new channels to see to it that in an attempt to increase TRP they do not create a false environment or falsely accuse an individual. However it is also the viewers responsible to think and question if what they are seeing is as true as it appears? So next time you are watching one of these operations, think maturely and responsibly and not get carried away with what to you watch.