Journalistic Stings: Are they Ethical?

On 27th September 2016, the Daily Telegraph released a video in which England football manager Sam Allardyce negotiated a deal with a business man for the sum of £400,000. The feel was to act as an adviser on FA rules regarding player transfers and third party ownership.

Unbeknown to Mr Allardyce the business men were undercover journalists working an ongoing ten month operation into corruption and bribery in football today. Mr Allardyce was not the only person under investigation, but the first to be exposed.

The result was a well-respected manager losing his job, and possibly ruining his career.

Sunday Morning Live on BBC debated this on 2nd October 2016 with a panel including Max Mosley, Edwina Curry, Lord Digby-Jones and Chris Davies.

The debate spoke about the ethics behind journalistic stings in general. Are the press right to conduct undercover investigations.

When the general public was asked their thoughts, the reaction across the board was split. Some people believed undercover journalistic stings to be unacceptable, some believed then to be vital to uncovering the truth at any cost, and, some like myself to see them as a way of under-covering the truth, but only when reliable sources provide evidence of possible wrong doing.

It is a valid point that people are entitled to privacy, we are not a big brother state. There are laws to protect against phone tapping and entrapment. However when someone is in a position of authority, is there no an expectation that they should be held to a higher authority?

If people are suspected of wrong doing, with a convincing level of proof available is it not our duty as journalists to investigate and uncover the truth. If the person or organisation is clean all well and good, but if there is wrong doing it must be in the public interest for this to be exposed.

 

 

 

 

 

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