Sting journalism is not investigative journalism – OPINION

In this age of digital storage of information, one is not sure whether it is the power of the search engines or their own stupendous memory that helps readers to remember and recollect information and pose questions. Whatever be the case, the fact remains that the printed word, which has now entered cyberspace, seems to have acquired a much-longer shelf life since Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press.

Some of the readers wanted to know whether the latest sting involving AIADMK MLAs taking money for switching factional affiliations has changed my opinion on sting journalism. They wanted to know whether, as a Readers’ Editor, I would recommend undercover journalism and deployment of spy cameras for
The Hindu
. They cited two of my earlier columns — “The dilemmas of sting journalism” (December 16, 2013) and “Means and ends matter” (September 22, 2014) — in which I had strongly repudiated the idea of ‘sting’.

My reservation against sting journalism goes back to the days when
Tehelka
ventured into ‘Operation West End’ that looked at murky deals in defence procurement. I am convinced that sting journalism is a lazy substitute to meticulous investigative…

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