Mehta and Bal on Open magazine's "regret"

Note: Indeed Open magazine has no business to apologise on behalf of Vinod Mehta and Hartosh Singh Bal without either speaking to them or taking consent from Manu Joseph, the then editor of Open. Was the magazine forced to apologise?
Media Vigil
Mehta and Bal on Open magazine's "regret"
Following the item carried on the Hoot – “Vindication?” -- about Open magazine's “regret”  regarding an interview it carried in 2012, Vinod Mehta and Hartosh Bal have asked that we carry this letter they have written to the editor of Open.  

April 1, 2014
S. Prasannarajan

Open Magazine
New Delhi
Dear Sir,
This is with regards to the ‘clarification’ published in the last issue of Open Magazine expressing regret at the hurt caused to The Indian Express by an interview of Vinod Mehta that referred to a report in The Indian Express on Army troop  movements towards Delhi. 
We the undersigned Vinod Mehta, editorial chairman of the Outlook Group who was interviewed and Hartosh Singh Bal, who conducted the interview and Manu Joseph, the then editor of Open who in his words “fully endorses this letter”, are bemused by the claim in the clarification that “Open was aware, at the time of publication of that conversation, that The Indian Express had stood by its report. Open published Mehta’s description of the report as a ‘mistake’ even though it had no independent confirmation of any factual error in it. Also, it did not contact The Indian Express for its version.”
Since neither of the three was contacted by Open before publishing this clarification, there is no way for Open to make the claims it does in the clarification. The new editor S. Prasannarajan is in no position to make this assertion, but even more to the point the clarification indicates a basic ignorance of journalistic norms.
Mr Mehta’s criticism of the story is his opinion of what was stated in The Indian Express and how it was presented by the newspaper. The Indian Express itself publishes editorials which often talk up cudgels against statements and claims made in public, as far as we know it never contacts anyone for their version before going ahead with the editorials.
Even more pertinently, Shekhar Gupta, editor of The Indian Express regularly interviews people on television and The Indian Express then published these transcripts in the newspaper. In an interview with Mark Lynas, once an anti-GM campaigner, the following exchange occurs:
But (Vandana) Shiva is well meaning. Why is she doing it? She is not an enemy of India or Indian farmers.
I think she is…”
No comments from Shiva are included along with the interview. Such instances can be multiplied but we think this suffices in revealing the hypocrisy behind The Indian Express’ demand for an apology and the opportunism displayed by the Open Management in succumbing to it without any regards for journalistic norms.

We the undersigned continue to defend the publication of the interview and see no reason to express any clarifications for having carried it in the magazine. To put the record straight we urge you to publish this letter and give it the same prominence as the wrongly termed clarification you have published in the magazine. 

Vinod Mehta and Hartosh Singh Bal


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