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The truth behind sting operations


Media-and-politician nexus to keep the people from understanding issues by throwing an occassional victim in front of a baying crowd. (Cartoon courtesy - indiadaily.org.). Click for larger image.

Media-and-politician nexus to keep the people from understanding issues by throwing an occassional victim in front of a baying crowd. (Cartoon courtesy - indiadaily.org.). Click for larger image.

farce is not the only thing that fascinates Bahal. He’s done a set of about 60 sting operations for various television channels, the best known among them being Operation West End that shows politicians taking a bribe from undercover reporters for defence contracts. “A lot of colleagues are a little shocked by sting operations. They feel this somehow violates the tenets of journalism. But what we’re doing now, the Western media did 60 or more years ago. There is a wealth of case-law on this: that giving money is not entrapment if there is prior intimation that the person is ready to take money,” he says.

In the cash-for query scam, that was broken by him (where reporters did a sting operation by recording MPs who accepted money for asking questions in Parliament), he says he did not single out MPs from any pre-decided set of political groups. “We were asked to depose before the Rajya Sabha committee. (Former RBI Governor) Bimal Jalan asked us how we chose the MPs we recorded. I had to tell him: we didn’t choose them. They were suggested to us by middlemen (‘dalal’ is the word he used) who acted as the go-between. It was all very organised, and that suggests what a huge business it was. We didn’t go to them. They came to us”. (read more via Under the covers).

Media is itself a scam

The recent CWG ‘scams’ is another scam – where media has itself been partisan. Kalmadi has been made a scape goat – even though he had less 3% (less than Rs.1800 crores) of the purported Rs.70,000 crores budget for CWG. Yet the media made out a huge song and dance about Suresh Kalmadi. We know who the media was gunning for. Who exactly was the media protecting?

It is the ‘Western’ style of empty journalism which makes me twitch.

How much can you blame a player - after a rich sting-journalist waves huge amounts of money in front of a poor Pakistani cricketer. (Cartoon by  by Satish Acharya.).

How much can you blame a player - after a rich sting-journalist waves huge amounts of money in front of a poor Pakistani cricketer. (Cartoon by by Satish Acharya.).

GFFIM

And in all this The Protector of the Indian interests, the Great, Fearless, Free Indian Media, (GFFIM) goes along. Ambles along. For the last six years, GGFFIM (and many others, too) ignored the CWG issues – till it was too late to do anything. They have raised CWG issues 60 days before the games. What  earthly benefit will this give us?

Is the media not being mercenary and opportunistic? Trying to encash on readers’ anxieties and insecurities? What was Indian media doing for the last few years! Pretty much what Organizing Committee-CWG was doing. Taking the short and easy way to ‘achieve’ their objectives! Dubious and shady objectives. After this kind of media circus, pocketing a few crores seems so harmless – if not some fun! I would even say …

After putting up a good show, Kalmadi & OC Team seem less guilty to me.

At least, lesser than Indian media?

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  1. A fan of your blog
    November 2, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Yet the media made out a huge song and dance about Suresh Kalmadi. We know who the media was gunning for. Who exactly was the media protecting?

    Kalmadi may have had “only” 1800 crores budget, but that is not chump change either. When a fisherman goes to fish, he catches fish that falls in the trap. Media fishing is very similar. They will trap those who fall in their trap.

    Having said that, Kalmadi is a useless fellow overall. A sitting MP from Pune, he has not done a damn thing for the city in the last 25 years. His claim to fame are the Pune Ganesh festival and the Pune marathon. Other than that, he has not been engaged nor has he helped with a single problem that Pune has faced. Even though he and Pawar (who OWNS Maharashtra) do not get along one bit, somehow, for every LS election, they find a way to work together and get him elected. Pawar is notorious for his ability to win any election in Western Maharashtra at any time. No need to shed tears for Kalmadi. If we find a way to get rid of this guy, believe me, no one will miss him.

    Coming back to the issue of media culpability, media ethics have been on decline (much like rest of our society) for a long time. Not surprising either. Where TRP rankings rule the roost, what can you really expect?

    Having said that, I disagree that media brought up the CWG issue too late. It is not the role of the media to shed light on inefficiencirs in the governmental agencies responsible for delivering facilities in a timely fashion. Nothing requires the media to have that time element included in their agenda. If they had no created the hoopla, everything would have been swept under the carpet. This information efficiency does help in bringing the culprits to task in some instances. I just hope they would do that with all inefficiencies all the time. The Adarsh building scam is a good example of heads rolling (hopefully they will) due to a vigilant media.

    About loss of respect for privacy by the media, thats a reflection of our society, where lack of respect for privacy is the norm.

  2. November 3, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    A fan of your blog :

    Kalmadi may have had “only” 1800 crores budget, but that is not chump change either. When a fisherman goes to fish, he catches fish that falls in the trap. Media fishing is very similar. They will trap those who fall in their trap.

    Having said that, Kalmadi is a useless fellow overall. No need to shed tears for Kalmadi. If we find a way to get rid of this guy, believe me, no one will miss him.

    Defending or attacking Kalmadi is not the point. I know little about him. But the lack of objectivity in media needs to be noted.

    Coming back to the issue of media culpability, media ethics have been on decline (much like rest of our society) for a long time. Not surprising either. Where TRP rankings rule the roost, what can you really expect?

    I am not sure about a declining trend in ethics … or a inclining trend … or any trend at all. Unless you are using the phrase as a verbal habit.

  3. Charminar
    November 3, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Well said media itself is a BIG SCAM! Especially all these desi english channels. They all seem to be synchronized in brain washing the viewers to accept their version, hiding the truth.And 4 or 5 of these news channels seem to be totally in sync., as if the source of news for all of these is the same, but the person at the news desk is different.

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