Unapologetic Outlook offers regret, defends Smita Sabharwal snippet as 'satirical'
Flix Thursday, July 02, 2015 - 05:30
Three days after a satirical snippet on news magazine Outlook drew public criticism, the magazine has responded, and chosen to call what many have deemed 'slander' as 'satire'. Replacing the old article on its website with 'Outlook - Regret,' the magazine "regrets if any offence was taken" and also claims that the report had not cited any names or specifics. The piece "was not intended to be derisive or derogatory, and was meant to be received in a lighter vein," it said. In a recent edition, Outlook had published a piece titled 'No boring Babu' in its 'Deep Throat' column. The piece spoke about how a woman bureaucrat in the Telangana CM's office is present at every meeting making a "fashion statement with her lovely saris and serves as 'eye candy' at meetings. Despite not mentioning any names, the article was believed to be aimed at Smita Sabharwal, Additional secretary to the Telangana chief minister's office, the only woman officer in the CM's office . A legal notice from Sabharwal's lawyer followed with the article being called "distasteful, cheap and titillating". Read - Have come a long way since Stone Age says Smita Sabharwal IAS in legal notice to Outlook "Even though it did not cite names or specifics, newspapers, TV news channels and websites have carried news of a legal notice purportedly issued by a bureaucrat in Telangana, although Outlook is still to receive it 36 hours since the media blitz was launched." Outlook. Sabharwal had also demanded a detailed public apology through Outlook that is "visible and of the same dimensions and verbiage as the frivolous and vexatious article that you seem to think is satirical." Read - IAS officer Smita Sabharwal tells TNM Outlook piece is "yellow journalism" against working women It is interesting to note that the magazine has been cautious not to use the word 'apology' in the note and only expresses 'regret.' Here is the full note A satirical snippet titled "No Boring Babu" published in the 'Deep Throat' column has attracted plenty of attention and criticism since its publication in the July 6, 2015 issue of Outlook. Even though it did not cite names or specifics, newspapers, TV news channels and websites have carried news of a legal notice purportedly issued by a bureaucrat in Telangana, although Outlook is still to receive it 36 hours since the media blitz was launched. On social media, the magazine's correspondent in Hyderabad has been subjected to vile and personal attacks, and her physical safety has been threatened. Outlook wishes to clarify that the said piece was part of satire carried in the magazine in the usual course, was not intended to be derisive or derogatory, and was meant to be received in a lighter vein. That said, being conscious of sensitivities, Outlook has taken down the satirical piece entirely. Outlook expresses regret if any offence has been taken. Objective readers would consider Outlook's established record of preserving, promoting and projecting human rights, women's rights, minority rights, and free speech since its inception 20 years ago.