A sting operation is confidential video documenting carried out to expose a wrongdoing. Usually, undercover agents perform such operations to expose criminals. During the operation, the undercover reporter or agent doesn’t reveal his identity and/or the suspect is not aware of the reporter’s intentions. These operations could last for minutes or a few days or months.

Such operations are usually performed to gather highly confidential information or any facts that cannot be easily obtained or are impossible to acquire through traditional journalism means. For example, prostitution is extremely difficult to prove without deep, direct involvement into the menace. Generally, sting operations are carried out against corrupt politicians, gangsters, or any other fraudulent individual or institution.

Sting Operation – Right or Wrong?

Sting operations when done for the right reasons is worth appreciation, but even then how far can one go? For instance, television reporters taking their camouflaged cameras out to unfold a story may not be right from an ethical standpoint. Similarly, using false identities to access information is also not always right.

Generally, it’s believed a sting operation could be performed for both the right and wrong reasons. Wanting to expose a corrupt politician or a sex racket is a positive exercise. However, there are journalists and media houses who pursue such operations primarily for increased television rating points (TRP) and profit, violating journalism rules in the process. In fact, there are media houses who fabricate sting operations just to grab headlines.    

As a result, sting operations are not legal in many countries. Those against such secretive operations think the whole exercise constitutes entrapment. For example, some believe the individual/group carrying out the operation could entice the victim into committing crimes, so that the required footage is sought.