Loaded with spy-cam I met her boss

It was an extremely hot June evening,but I was comfortable inside one of my haunting grounds,a small bar in Central Calcutta.After waiting for 15 minutes, my contact, a 40-year old small time trader entered the bar and sat beside me.He is favourite among the crowd and the bartenders.I remember,three summers ago, around this time, I met him at the same bar for the first time and became my close buddy.We were chatting for a long time over a glass of vodka .After that,I didn’t see him for several weeks,until I got a SMS from him ,suggesting that we meet up at a restaurant after two days.There,he came over to meet me with a chirpy young lady who was a part of a well organised sex racket.Later,loaded with spy-cam, I met her ‘boss’,a middle aged man in an undisclosed location.My anxiety grew when I found that he was not comfortable with me and became suspicious about my identity and ordered his armed henchmen to search my body.But,luckily with the timely intervention from that lady and others present at the room,I survived.
Here,I want to quote Ashish Kira from a piece where he described the ordeal he had faced as a undercover reporter when he extensively investigates the involvement of Hindu fundamentalist in Gujrat carnage 2002 for Tehelka.:….At the appointed time,I walked into the high-cellinged reception room of the Vadodara BJP office.Half an hour later, Dhimant Jain walked in, a sort man in his late 30s with a newly-acquired punch.He was fixated with Muslims,whom he evidently considered the root of all evil…..Struggling between pursuing files and answering a near-incessant phone calls,he was most hospitable,offering me water,then tea,then showing me the way to the toilet(where I switched on the two spy cams I wearing)….A few minutes later,Dhimant Bhatt’s driver steered the car off the main road and turned into a narrow,deserted,kutcha road.As the car stopped outside a desolate,one-storey house,another car pulled up and two men got out.Bhatt and these men went into the house and told me to wait.I had two spy-cams on me and all it needed to blow my cover was a body frisk.I prepared for the worst……These are the common professional hazards we face every day.

There are a wide range of high quality spy cameras.These spy-cams can be hidden in almost any object and produce high quality picture resolution.Spy camera can be easily connected to a VCR or TV. Because of it’s small size, this spy-cams can also be hidden anywhere including body parts.Smaller and lighter than a cigarette lighter but records hi-resolution video via its pin hole spy camera at the touch of a button.But,as I mentioned in earlier blogs that before using hidden cameras-spy cams we should be more careful about its legal consequences.Here, I quote Robert Lissit, a former TV news magazine Producer from his article appeared in American Journalism Review(March 1995).
Some producers and reporters who use hidden cameras say they adhere to strict guidelines and cite numerous stories that couldn’t have been done any other way. But unfortunately the cameras often are used as a substitute for thorough reporting. Moreover, some journalists say hidden cameras shouldn’t be used at all. They say they’re unethical, and can result in stories that constitute a serious invasion of privacy. Privacy law has never been as well-defined as libel, and still hasn’t been conclusively established by Supreme Court rulings. However, airing audio recorded during a hidden camera investigation is prohibited in some states by laws requiring the consent of both parties to record a conversation. And in California, a judge is threatening to bar ABC News from using hidden cameras in private workplaces in the state. Had that been the law in New Jersey, CBS News wouldn’t have been able to record in Joel Rachmiel’s office. Some journalists fear cases like the one in California as well as the threat of lawsuits may force reporters to stop using hidden cameras altogether. The news media have utilized hidden cameras since 1928, when the New York Daily News sent a photographer to Sing Sing Prison with a small camera strapped to his ankle to secretly photograph an electrocution. Fifty years later, the famous Mirage Bar story pretty much brought an end to newspapers using hidden cameras. The Chicago Sun-Times, in collaboration with a watchdog group, the Better Government Association, set up a saloon monitored by hidden cameras to document licensing inspectors soliciting bribes. The Sun-Times was roundly criticized for the sting and Chicago papers no longer use hidden cameras. In fact, most newspapers no longer consider them appropriate. “Papers can’t really show a story through pictures,” explains Jeff Kumer, investigations editor at the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “We have to show the story with words.” Over the years other network and local reporters routinely shot pictures from vans with cameras hidden behind curtained windows. But the impetus for the recent proliferation of hidden camera stories came in 1989, when ABC’s “PrimeTime Live,” using new miniature cameras, developed an innovative reporting style. Investigative producer Robbie Gordon used hidden cameras to uncover patient abuse in a health care facility in Houston, in Veterans Administration hospitals and in a day care center . These were dramatic stories that received favorable attention from the press and attracted large audiences. Without hidden cameras, says Gordon, the stories would have been impossible to do.Gordon had used hidden cameras years before, but they were bulky and hard to work with. In the early 1980s0 she snuck a large camera into a hospital emergency room in a suitcase. “It made so much noise when it started up,” Gordon remembers, “that we all had to cough to cover up the sound.” By 1989, though, Toshiba and Elmo had started producing cameras the size of a lipstick. When carried in a wig, a hat or a stuffed toy, they couldn’t be seen or heard. And unlike the previous generation of cameras, micro miniatures can deliver an extremely clear picture. They’re also relatively inexpensive: A camera and lens cost less t0. By 1991, the success of “PrimeTime Live,” the new cameras’ convenience and relatively low cost, and the promise of higher ratings convinced other network shows and local stations to embrace hidden camera technology. That’s when major ethical questions started cropping up again. In 1992, the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the Poynter Institute for Media Studies took official notice of the growing use of hidden cameras by adopting guidelines drawn up at the institute. A year later SPJ published a handbook, “Doing Ethics in Journalism,” which recommended that hidden cameras be used only for stories of profound importance when there’s no other way to get the information, and when the information outweighs the potential harm caused by the deception. SPJ distributed the handbook to thousands of newsrooms. Some of the “bad work” Rosen worries about includes poorly conceived stories, stories where the final result doesn’t justify the inevitable invasion of privacy that goes with the technology, and ones in which stations rely on a quick hit with a hidden camera in lieu of thorough reporting.
I mention the article to make you understand the nitty-gritty of using hidden cameras-spy-cams.Here,in India even and junior and inexperienced reporters use hidden cameras.

About shanthanubh

A calcutta(India)based Independent newsresearcher and Investigative reporter.He has been working as a journalist for more than 15 years.He had worked as a news researcher for various news based programs in Calcutta.Shanthanu considers Deborah Potter and Theressha Collington Moore as his mentor because in his early days of journalism carrier, he was inspired and motivited by their works and learnt a lot from them about media ethics and news research.Though,a news researcher don't get enough credit for his job,he sticks to it.He believes that as journalists we should follow the jounalism mantra that if your mother says she loves you, check it out.we work as a store clerk.we believe that facts are more important than adjectives.Earlier,he also worked as a private investigator to brush up his skill as an Investigative Reporter.

Posted on July 24, 2008, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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