The Indian Express group and four of its senior journalists (including editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta) have sent a legal notice to Open magazine, its editor and other professionals. And above all to Vinod Mehta. The reason: in an interview to Open, Outlook’s Vinod Mehta rubbished the Express expose of a coup-like situation in the Capital.
The Express is also upset with the publication of reactions that the interview elicited.
The lawyer has asked for an apology, removal of the interview from the site and Rs 100 crore each for her clients. Note the money must be remitted even after the publication of the apology.
Mediaah! view: I think the Express should’ve just let the interview be (link: http://www.openthemagazine.com/ article/nation/the-mother-of-all-mistakes). I don’t think the interview is damning the reputation of the Express or its editor-in-chief. And even if there is a belief that Vinod Mehta ought not to have said what he did and Open shouldn’t have published it especially since the coup story hasn’t been proven to be wrong, initiating a legal procedure is perhaps a bit much.
Moreover, though it has established itself as an independent, gutsy publication, Open isn’t mass-circulated as, say, The Times of India. I must confess that even though I had been told about the interview, I read it only yesterday, after I heard of the notice. There is sure to be a fair bit of buzz in the social networks.
I spoke to a senior member of the Open team who said the company lawyer was planning to respond to the notice and the magazine has no plans to pull the story off the Web.
Final words: It’s imperative that while the media subjects everyone to criticism, it must be willing to take the heat whenever it’s subjected to it. Now, let’s hope Mediaah! doesn’t get a legal notice for writing all of this
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