Should sting operations be illegalized?

Should sting operations be illegalized?


We have been seeing a chain of string operations involving AAP leaders recently. While some reports show that these sting operations show the real face of politicians and their actual motive behind talks of democracy and public interests, there are reports of false allegations too. And we have the target of the sting operation crying foul over the allegations, claiming that it was all made up with the intention of defamation. We are left bewildered and even more curious. Unlike Hindi cinemas and popular Crime Investigation shows, our real life villains would not settle for a recorded tape and start confessing their bad deeds one by one. This makes us think whether the whole idea of string operations is as vague as the origin itself.


1. Spying into the lives of people, recording their actions in an artificial environment created with the intention of defamation is bound to bring in controversies. We Indians are never short of controversies when politics is concerned and these sting operations just makes it even worse. First it was AAP leaders who inspired and encouraged everyone to go for sting operations but soon it backfired and they started crying foul. We need no more of political drama so sting operations have to go back.

2. These sting operations have no proof of its originality. They can be designed, edited and even morphed to suit the intent. Even if they expose someone, the case usually comes out to be baseless, lacking real evidence. The defamation case against the website for doctoring footages created a lot of trouble, party members quitting, wasting of time and resources, involving courts for a worthless matter.

3. In the names of sting operations, more often journalists violate the privacy of individuals. In the past there have been enough cases where sting operations have crossed their limits and exposed private lives of people which needs not be a part of public information. This has been the prior reason why a banning of sting operations have been called for many times in the past, with no results unfortunately.

4. Most of the sting operations carried out by journalists are unethical and the intention is not exposure of crime for the good of the nation but a mere gimmick to draw attention to their news channel. Most of the time a simple matter is shown from an entirely different angle, moulded into something that was never meant by the target and using the same for prime time news.

5. The worst part about sting operations is no boundaries of laws. There are no rules governing the nature of stint operations so as to ensure that journalists maintain a certain limit during these kinds of investigation. Offensive contents are generated, doctored in a way that would anger the mob and in turn get them turned towards their news channel.


1. Sting operations are an integral part of investigative journalism. Not every required information can be accessed just by asking people directly with a notebook or a camera. Sting operations have helped in busting many illegal activities that are carried out within the covers of legal businesses. The famous BMW hit and run case got a new hope for justice because of a simple sing operation.

2. Without sting operations justice would be further delayed owing to lack of witnesses and proofs. Restricting media from doing their job would be quite unfair and we might even have to live under perpetual ignorance. Freedom of media cannot be curbed to protect rights of some criminals hiding behind masks of reputation.

3. For high handed people, hit and run like cases are nothing that they would fear. They get away easily throwing a few bucks here and there. Sting operations are essential if the evil prevailing under the blindness of power, sources and resources have to be curbed. No country can expect democracy and justice to it's people if freedom of media is curbed.

4. In the BMW case Supreme Court ruled, "The programme may have any other fault or weakness but it certainly did not interfere with or obstruct the due course of the BMW (hit-and-run case) trial. The programme telecast by NDTV showed to the people (the courts not excluded) that a conspiracy was afoot to undermine the BMW trial. What was shown was proved to be substantially true and accurate. The programme was thus clearly intended to prevent the attempt to interfere with or obstruct the due course of the BMW trial." Media playing the role of vigilance agency cannot be curbed for any reason.

5. According to another judgement ruled by Supreme Court, a string operation can be legal only when it is done in public interest. Most of the sting operations are done with this motive and if some are carried out for the purpose of channel TRP, people have the right to drag them to the court of law.


Sting operations have been carried out since a long time but without a set of rules governing its nature. There are claims of defamation intentions against innocents and not much has been done in this regard. There needs to be laws governing the nature of sting operations and set of purposes for which such an operation could be carried out. Illegalizing sting operation would be curbing freedom of media which acts as vigilance agency in such cases. Sting operations are necessary to expose the real faces behind masks wherein hides corruption and evil intentions.
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  • RE: Should sting operations be illegalized? -Taaha Shaikh (05/06/15)
  • Sting operations, as I understand, are operations undertaken by people, who may be the general public or consumers in order to expose what they perceive is wrongdoing or corruption on part of government servants and other people assigned with big responsibilities. Sting operations are useful- they serve as decent evidence to act against corrupt officials; indeed, many fraudulent activities and officials have been uncovered by sting operations. As an example, sting operations have been quite successful in New Delhi, where the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-promoted sting operations have reportedly brought down incidents of bribery. I myself regret not carrying out a sting operation against two ticket checkers who falsely accused me of traveling without tickets today morning, when in fact I never boarded any bus in the first place.

    On the other hand, there have been a number of complaints against fake sting operations, whose chief aim is to encroach upon the privacy of famous people and defame them. Sting operations can also be used to threaten and blackmail these officials, leading to even greater corruption.

    In my opinion, sting operations need not be made illegal. Instead, we can regulate them so that people carrying out sting operations do not invade people's privacy or touch upon other sensitive topics. In this regard, we certainly can follow the example of Sweden.
  • RE: Should sting operations be illegalized? -Deepa Kaushik (04/23/15)
  • Sting operations never aim at getting out the true story, but just to increase the viewership of the channel. The sting operations have caused immense damage to the concerned people and it has hardly helped out in any matter to anyone. The sting operations being conducted mainly defames a person targeted and once the program rating reaches the top, the person is left to carry on with his pitiable life ahead.

    Again, very correctly said, the sting operations are never reliable. With the advancement in the technology, when the videos can be easily morphed, how can we rely on any such video released. Even the common man who watches the program, just enjoys it in light humour. Apart from the politicians, who find a way out to politicize any and every issue, there is hardly any sensible person who gets affected or reacts in response to these sting operations.

    It would highly beneficial to illegalize such operations which is of hardly any sensible value to anyone. If the tele-channels aim towards increasing their program rating, they should better start on with the daily-soaps which is far away from the real world. At least these sort of program does not cause any harm to the character and image of any person. Hence, illegalising the sting operations would be wise decision to proceed with.