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Outlook’s ‘missing govt’ cover page goes missing online, magazine says part of new format

Outlook magazine created a stir Thursday with the cover page of its latest edition, which stated that the Modi govt was missing amid the second Covid wave.

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New Delhi: The Outlook India magazine had grabbed eyeballs Thursday as the cover for its May edition was a blank white page that resembled a ‘Missing Poster’. It stated that the ‘Government of India’ was missing amid the devastating second Covid-19 wave.

The cover page also specified that if the government is found, “Citizens of India” should be “informed”.

On Friday, however, that cover sparked a row after Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra pointed out that the magazine had removed it from its online edition.

“So @Outlookindialatest cover had Missing Govt of India on advertised online cover. Pushback from govt made them change online cover,” she tweeted. “Come on Raheja group- give up publishing if you can’t stick to your stand!”

The company in charge of publishing the magazine is the Rajan Raheja Group.

The online edition of the magazine does not have the missing poster. Instead, it has images of contributors for this month’s edition, which includes Moitra herself, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Jha and academician Pratap Bhanu Mehta, among others.

As Moitra’s tweet circulated and the issue became a topic of controversy, Sunil Menon, managing editor of the magazine, took to Twitter to explain that only the online version had changed.

“Allow me to quell the impression that seems to be going around that we have changed our cover. We have NOT,” he tweeted. “The image going around is that of an online promo. The magazine we brought out looks like this.”

Moitra responded that even that should not have been done. “Don’t change the online promo also — in Covid times a physical hard copy is bought by few. The online cover should be exactly what the actual cover is, isn’t it?”

‘Cover did its job, trying to get more readers now’

Outlook CEO Indranil Roy explained to ThePrint through a phone call that the magazine’s hard copy retained the ‘missing’ cover and that he did not know how it snowballed into a controversy.

“For this edition, we decided to focus more on the writers and put their images in the online edition. This is the format that we are following for the first time,” he said.

“We have launched a paywall so are trying to draw more attention through the writers as names like Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Shashi Tharoor will definitely get readers. The cover has gone viral, therefore it has done its job. My job is also to sell subscriptions.”

Sunil Menon also reiterated to ThePrint that the cover was intact — the physical one, as well as the online one.

“All our official handles had tweeted that cover, and it was already very much out there as a visual, it had gone viral, so when the controversy broke, I too was surprised,” Menon said. “It seems there was some confusion over a promo visual they had used to showcase our authors.”

Also read: ‘India not alone to suffer second wave’ — message Modi govt wants to send to repair its image


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