Should there be a legal backing to "sting operations"? Justify your stand in ethical perspective.

There are various moral questions related to sting operation or investigative / undercover journalism such as violation of privacy; trust; inducing a person to commit something wrong including a crime.
I think legal backing as well as legal regulation is need of the hour. The 200th report of law commission has also recommended enactment of a law to prevent the media from violating the privacy of individuals. Therefore a legal backing providing the broader guidelines should be there.
The media plays an important role in a democratic society. It acts as the fourth institute outside the Government.  Although, the Indian Constitution does not expressly mention the liberty of the press, it is evident that the liberty of the press is included in the freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1) (a). The Press Council of India had issued various guidelines which should be adhered in case of sting operations. The legal regulations should be such that in case of violation of guidelines, a defamation suit (against journalists or media houses) can be filed. However, a sting operation with genuine public interest should not be prohibited. Sting operations should be considered only as last resort and only in the cases where public interest outweighs violation of privacy. This should be done by Journalists only after considerable discussion with the top management and editor of the TV channel.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Should there be a legal backing to “sting operations”? Justify your stand in ethical perspective. {150 words, 10 marks}

Published: September 21, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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