Journalism or advertorial?

The latest issue of Outlook magazine has a piece titled The
Body Electronic
that I found… strange.

It masquerades as an article about exposing the Indian sex sites on the
Internet and how they’re hawking women to willing customers. If I didn’t know better, I’d call it an "advertorial" for the sites in
question. The writer goes all out to provide every last bit of contact
information for the people involved in this business.


"Business is good…. Earlier, we had services all over India…but
stock was proving to be a problem…we are looking for customers for a
lifetime…" ?Sameer, who claims to be an MBA with specialisation in
marketing, on the Mumbai mobile number 098216-86191., true to its name, is more pan-Indian, giving contact
details for most big cities.

In Mumbai, you can contact one Robert or Ashok, reachable at 09819437751,
who will do the needful. The duo has offices in Churchgate and Andheri (W).

A registration at the dating site in Kashyap’s name (Is
Outlook ready with my bail money?) led me to Arun, available at 098218-44021.
"I can sure provide the service in Delhi. Just call me two hours in
advance," he said. Based in Mumbai, he needs just an hour’s notice there.


The author concludes with:

My intention is not to raise awareness about Sameer, Arun, Purnima, Robert,
Ashok, or their websites. I wouldn’t dream of doing that in a magazine that’s
read by my mother. My honest intention is to make cyberspace a little more
worthy of our kids’ eyeballs. So I spoke to the cbi about it, whose
spokesperson expressed surprise and wanted the addresses of these websites.

Gee, by publishing it in a magazine read by thousands of people, he’s
certainly raised awareness. Just what we need – a journo on a moral crusade who
writes articles like advertorials. If he wanted only the CBI to investigate, he
could’ve given them the mobile numbers in question. What purpose did printing
them in the magazine serve?

Go read
the article
and tell me if you too find it stinks a bit.