Vinod Mehta, a closet-communist and former Outlook India editor, dead

Vinod Mehta loves censorship.

Vinod Mehta loves censorship.

An ad guy and not a journalist, Mehta used to work for lad mag Debonair. He acquired some respectability later in life as founder-editor of Outlook/Pioneer. Even then, he was harassed by governments, particularly that of former PM Vajpayee, former National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra and possible former Home minister LK Advani.

Outlook and Open were were the only two news organizations that published transcripts of Niira Radia tapes. What does that tell you about our freedom of Indian media. If the then National Security Advisor and former IB director MK Narayanan took great pleasure and interest in credit card spends of top editors, then there was definitely some impact. (

Anyway, last year, Mehta wrote a well-received memoirs in which he exposed the pettiness of big-name politicians, industrialists and even riff-raff such as Shobaaaa De.

Although he retired from day-to-day editorship of the magazine, he continued to be “editor-at-large”. He then sought to make us agree that we should sacrifice OUR freedom for the greater common good. If he had said we should ban Facebook or Twitter, then he would have been right. But he preferred to hit our freedoms, despite being a journalist.

Maybe some idiots end up as terrorists because of Twitter or Facebook but most do so for cold-hard cash. Governments do the recruiting and big banks around the world do the financing. What good is it that after several years in journalism, you don’t get this truth?

And, the BJP operatives who spread rumours against North-Easterners were not terrorists in the truest sense.

Twitter and Facebooks are not vehicles of freedom of expression. These sites indulge in algorithmic censorship and dog-train users with likes, retweets and other treats for submissive non-complaining behaviour. Control-freak governments and idiotic-advertisers unaware of the short attention span of the users love these sites, as the stooges volunteer all data about themselves and their contacts instead of operating under the relative cloak of anonymity that blogs provide.

Well, that was my only grouse. Vinod Mehta was not a great journalist but simply by doing his duty as a professional he towered over others in the industry. I liked reading Outlook while I subscribed to it. The Intelligence Bureau donkeys started eating my copies and I could not subscribe anymore.

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