Times publisher arrested, released
Cover story and pictures on sexual trends in Mumbai
Mirror Buzz spell trouble
BY A CORRESPONDENT
17th November 2005
If there is one message out of the
recent arrest and release of Times of India Mumbai
publisher Sam Dastoor, it is this: tread with care when
stalking the badlands of sex and the city.
Sam Dastoor, publisher of the Times of India group of
publications was arrested this week over the publication of a
controversial cover story in Buzz, the glossy magazine
which goes free with Mumbai Mirror every week. The
Buzz cover pictured a couple in kissing, with the headline
MERCURY RISING. The caption read: How hot is Mumbai? Our
exclusive survey tells you just that."
The Mumbai Mirror Buzz survey conducted by IMRB
International, as Buzz said, "delved into the minds and
bedrooms of Mumbai's young adult minds."
The controversial Buzz was circulated with Mumbai
Mirror (which is circulated with Times of India) on
November 12 in Mumbai. Following its publication, a group of
non-governmental organisations went to the police. The police
arrested Dastoor on Tuesday, November 15, and later released
him on bail.
The Times of India publisher was booked under sections
of the Indian Penal Code and the Young Persons (Harmful
Publications Act). According to relevant Indian statutes,
every publication is supposed to duly mention the name of its
printer, publisher and place of printing. Mirror Buzz
did not carry these details, and hence, charges were filed
under Press and registration of Books Act too. The charges
included sale of obscene material and sale of obscene objects
to young persons, a newspaper report said.
The Mirror Buzz cover story, spread across seven pages,
featured ten topics of sex and surveys based on them. The
magazine also featured nine pictures of nude and semi-nude
couples in various stages of undress and making out.
The Mirror Buzz survey delved on ten sections including
sexual habits, commercial sex, love and lifestyle, attraction
and arousal, pre-marital sex, sexual fantasies, sexual
harassment, foreplay and stimulants and homosexuality.
According to the survey, one in two students has had sex, and
premarital sex starts for 13% of students from the age of 15.
The survey went on to find out details on favourite sex
positions, infidelity and masturbation. According to the
survey, one in four men has visited commercial sex workers,
even as many of them found the practice to be a cause for HIV.
The survey goes on to say that almost one in four married
women have swapped partners, while for men the figure is 20%.
Nine out of ten bachelors in this city have had pre-marital
sex, asserts the survey, and winds up with the observation
that the city is not too friendly to ideas of homosexuality.
Mumbai Mirror editor Meenal Baghel told Mumbai
Newsline (the city supplement of Indian Express)
that the pictures published were quite tasteful. She also said
that such surveys were not conducted for the first time in
India, and were a bona fide journalistic activity the world
over. "I am surprised with this whole affair," she was quoted
as saying in Mumbai Newsline.
However, one man's tastefulness may be another's obscenity.
Just the same way one man's terrorism could be another's
BY A CORRESPONDENT