Indictment of Journalists Involved in "Sting" Operation Deeply Objectionable

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) notes with great concern that two journalists

from India’s web-based news portal have been charged with

corruption offences for their role in a “sting” operation that exposed a “cash

for questions” racket among elected members of parliament in India.


Along with 11 former members of

parliament, who face prosecution under India’s Prevention of Corruption

Act (PCA), the two journalists, Aniruddha Bahal and Suhasini Raj, have been

charged with abetment of an offence.


The telecast of the “sting” over

several Indian television channels in 2005 led to great public outrage,

following which Parliament voted by an overwhelming majority to expel the MPs involved.


The IFJ notes that widespread

public concerns over the legality and ethics of private media organisations

conducting so-called “sting” operations were recently answered by India’s

Supreme Court when it declined to entertain a petition in this matter.


The IFJ joins the Delhi Union of

Journalists (DUJ), a constituent unit of its affiliate organisation, the Indian

Journalists’ Union (IJU), in demanding that the charges against the two

journalists be dropped immediately.


The Editors’ Guild of India has made

a similar demand.


“The IFJ does not necessarily

endorse the method of the operation carried out by the two journalists, but we

do acknowledge that it served a significant public purpose at the time,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.


“We are encouraged by the Delhi

High Court’s order of August 18 that the journalists who have been booked on

charges of abetment of an offence need not appear in person in court.


“We join the demand voiced by India’s media community that the Delhi police drop these

charges against Aniruddha Bahal and Suhasini Raj.”



For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919


The IFJ represents

over 600,000 journalists in 120