The realm of investigative journalism requires a not so common combination of passion and professionalism, and a healthy dose of risk tolerance. That is why media practitioners devoted to uncovering hidden truths for the public good, need to be applauded. But where does one insert 'too' before frisky and risky?
A recent expose in one of the 'not so popular' Kenyan TV stations, though thoroughly engaging, pointed to some often ignored but probably important ethical considerations.
- If journalists illustrate the ease of purchasing hard drugs by actually posing as clients and getting the narcotics, can they in turn be charged with possessing the proscribed substances?
- Is it sufficient to merely point out drug peddlers and the availability of hard drugs, without passing the information to authorities and capturing their response, to balance the story by featuring the side of law enforcers?
- Is it safe for a journalist to lie to or trick sellers of hard drugs into availing the substance, only to expose them on TV? Is it sane for the journalist to blatantly showcase how the subterfuge was achieved?
Random thoughts maybe, but worth some sober reflection don't you think?