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Panpa Bulletin : November 2010
16 | NOVEMBER 2010 | The PAN PA B lletin EDITORS and investigative reporters are split on the ethics of vid- eo-sting journalism that has emerged in Britain, snaring cricket match-fixers, FIFA soccer officials and the Duchess of York for tak- ing or seeking bribes and illicit payments. Journalists from The Sunday Times and News of the World have captured global attention for going undercover, taking secret vid- eos that have exposed corruption in public life. Videos go on the internet before the headlines are written, gaining massive TV exposure and creating angst in the corridors of power because of misdeeds and blatant bribery. But is it ethical journalism? Locally, journalists are told that ethically they should identify themselves and their organisation -- unless the public good is be- ing served. The journalists themselves are far from unanimous on whether this renewed fad of sting journalism -- now given greater impact because of the viral powers of YouTube -- is acceptable. "I am not a hard-nosed, entrenched opponent to these sorts of techniques," says Gold Walkley winner Hedley Thomas, national chief correspondent for The Australian. "We have chosen to walk down the ethical path in Australia and that is why there might be resistance to those types of methods, but it is probably timely to have a public debate." Those familiar with Dr Death will know Mr Thomas' work. He exposed the practices of Dr Jayant Patel, a surgeon who was convicted of killing and maiming patients. Mr Thomas says he favours "responsibly adopting some of the methods the News of the World have been using". "They have the potential to break significant stories. But with these methods (undercover reporting and recording), it's simila tion, you have to be extremely caref cy laws and surveillance devices law ies of each publisher dictate how jo o about getting a story. The culture of journalism and the perce reader -- in Australia, New Zealand and es hindered the willingness of editors to co "It is totally different if there is a tradi methods," says Garry Linnell, editor of S "The red-top, Fleet Street culture ha "The News of the World stings are m the UK. We have never had that cultu "Even though lots of people think racy tabloid, we are really a middle- "For us to unleash a team of und would be a pretty significant step. "We are thinking about it. We and edit video on the iPhone4, b when it comes to video." Mr Linnell says such methods out in the suburbs" but sugges of investigation into those w who are accustomed to dealin "I wouldn't want someone ad taste Iwo pin st." eofN Kitch mate In so ythin "Som omet Mr New rape confidential 'I still prefer the classical journalist techniques: follow the money, build trust with your sources, sifting through paper work with long hours of continued effort' ADAM SHAND Freelance 'I don't see what the News of the World has done as investigative journalism. The stuff they do involves lying, duping or tricking people into certain situations' BRETT McCARTHY Editor, West Australian confidential 'For us to unleash a team of undercover secret video journalists would be a pretty signifcant step. We are thinking about it' GARRY LINNELL Editor, Daily Telegraph confidential 'They have the potential to break signifcant stories. But with these methods (undercover reporting and recording), it's similar to weapons of mass destruction, you have to be extremely careful who you give them to' HEDLEY THOMAS The Australian confidential Mr Mahmood, also known as the Fake Sheike, is a serial undercover reporter for the News of the World. Allegedly bringing 234 criminals to justice, the red top has gone to extreme lengths to keep his identity under wraps MAZHER MAHMOOD News of the World onfidential 'We wired Louise Nicholas before a conversation with Detective Inspector John Dewar. He admitted he believed there could never have been consensual sex with the use of a (police) baton against a woman. That conversation was used as evidence, and he went to jail' PHIL KITCHIN Dominion Post confidential ebecca Leaver NPA