Asia Pacific Media Educator


Investigative work by some of India’s renowned journalists, despite their limited access to the internet in remote areas, is still conducted in the tradition of working the streets, tenacious research, going undercover, negotiating the multi-layered bureaucracies, and engaging with the grassroots and often inaccessible sources. Among the well-known investigative journalism in India is the exposure of entrenched corruption in the Ministry of Defence by the English-language news site, Tehelka.com in 2001. A team of Tehelka journalists, disguised as arms dealers with hidden cameras, met with senior politicians and army officers to do a deal on procuring ‘thermal imaging binoculars’. Known as ‘Operation West End’, 1 Tehelka exposed the culture of corruption among senior defence ministry officials and army officers. The exposé led to the resignation of the Defence Minister. A significant journalistic and public interest outcome. But the investigative methods by Tehelka, which was re-launched as a weekly print publication in 2003 with the support of its subscribers and donors, stirred criticisms of its ethical practice. Does Tehelka’s journalistic motives justify its methods, the spycams, the entrapment?