Why doesn’t Outlook publish the admiral’s letter?

Sixteen issues vilifying a former navy chief. And he still is denied his right to reply

Outlook magazine and Saikat Datta, its special correspondent, have been on the ‘navy war room leak‘ case for some time now. A former navy chief’s wife’s nephew is a key suspect, as is a businessman with connections to the Congress party and its ruling family. Much of the magazine’s coverage has insinuated or alleged wrongdoing on the part of Admiral (retd) Arun Prakash, the erstwhile navy chief.

Outlook may justify its sensational coverage as tenacious journalism, although media trials almost always violate the “innocent until proven guilty” principle. Yet its refusal to publish the admiral’s letter offering his view on the matter is not only unfair, but also flies against the norms of good journalism. Outlook cannot simultaneously claim that its dogged coverage is high-minded journalism when it does not give the target of its accusations, not least a person who was decorated for his achievements in war, a right to response.

Adm Prakash’s letter is available in the public domain. The charitable explanation for Outlook‘s one-sided, selective coverage of the case, and now its refusal to publish his letter, is that it can’t be bothered to tell its readers that there is possibly another side to the story. The less charitable—and the more likely one—is that it does not want its readers to know that there is one.

…I have had to maintain public silence because I was in uniform, I was the head of an Armed Force of the Union and also because many of the issues you could raise with impunity were sub judice in courts of law and my lips were sealed. In any case, you have deliberately and consistently refused to publish all rebuttals, rejoinders or denials issued by the MoD or myself.

…As far as I am concerned, my conscience is absolutely clear and my actions throughout have remained in strict accordance with the high traditions of the Armed Forces. If indeed there has been wrongdoing, as you allege, I have no part in it or knowledge of it. Yes, I do wish I could have selected better and more upright relatives, but like every other Indian, mine are also inherited (in this particular case, by marriage). [Adm Prakash – Letter to the Vinod Mehta (pdf/text)]

4 thoughts on “Why doesn’t Outlook publish the admiral’s letter?”

  1. Slash and burn journalism is nothing new to Outlook. If Adm. Arun Prakash wrote a novel, and it helps if was generally accepted to western audience, he would have been given whole page to write what he wanted. To bad he is just the head of Indian Armed Forces. He is out of luck – he likes the country too much for our liberal media!

  2. Vinod Mehta has for long been a creep for hire. He orchestrated the empty campaign against Kapil Dev in the match fixing scandal of the ’90s when it ultimately turned out that Jadeja and Azhar were th culprits. So much for inside info. Following the Kargil War Vinod Mehta once again filed a 100 accusations of incompetence and suppression of evidence thereof against the Army leadership only to have his own brother the Army veteran Gen.Ashok Mehta dissociate himself from the now slanderous campaign. Vinod Mehta regularly provides a lectern to two scoundrels of the IN the disgraceful and retired Adm.Ramdas and the disgraced and fired Adm.Vishnu Bhagwat. There is enough of cynicism going around in India to sustain a large readership and circulation for the Outlook. This magazine is a few rungs below the South India China Post (aka The Hindu and its stable mates) – if that is possible.

  3. Shiva,
    I wouldn’t be so quick in dismissing Adm. Bhagwat as a scoundrel. Much of what the Navy has achieved in terms of indigenisation (something that should make the Army and IAF hang their heads in shame), is due to his efforts. He just happned to crros swords with too many powerful people at the same time (one of these being George Fernandes). All the same, this stuff by Outlook is unforgivable. Adm. Prakash should sue these creeps for libel.

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