MEDIA - SEX SURVEYS
Sex surveys: India Today, Outlook in court
OUR MEDIA EDITOR
28th September 2005: Premier Indian news magazines India Today
and Outlook are facing flak, after publishing sex
surveys in their recent editions.
The Delhi High Court issued notices to India Today and
Outlook on Wednesday on a public interest litigation (PIL)
which calls for directions to prosecute the journalists and
management of the two leading magazines for conducting and
publishing the surveys.
The division bench which includes Vijender Jain and Rekha
Sharma asked the two magazines, the Union information and
broadcasting ministry and the Press Council to reply to the
charges by December 7.
Both the surveys were published in the issues dated September
26. The petitioner has also asked the court to impose a token
fine on both India Today and Outlook for
publishing the survey.
The PIL also asks the court to direct
the two magazines to part with the advertising revenues and
sales figures for the issues in question.
The India Today sex survey had an unintended victim:
southern actress Khushboo. The actress was quoted in the
survey as condoning premarital sex among women, provided
adequate precautions were taken regarding contraception and
safe sex. Khushboo even said that no educated gentleman these
days could expect his bride to be a virgin. The Tamil culture
police took to arms and took out a morcha to Khshuboo's house,
ready with garlands of slippers. Khushboo and her husband were
outside the country at the time, but as soon she landed back,
she apologized for the hurt caused, and claimed she had been
another sex survey had rankled the parents of many college
girls in Chandigarh. The survey, which claimed that 33% of
college girls (which is one in three) in Chandigarh are
sexually active raised the hackles of many students and
parents, who felt that the survey cast them in a poor light.
"From now, the boys will start thinking that many of the girls
are available for sex. If not one, then another," said a
furious college student.
The survey has got the parents upset too. Blasting the Urban
Health Centre for conducting the survey is one thing - the
risk of wayward ways highlighted by the survey on their
children is another.
According to the Chandigarh sex survey, 33% of the girl
students admitted to having sex, while 28% refused to comment.
The implication is that the figure could be higher than 33%.
The surveyors drew criticism for publishing the survey
results. The Health Centre later said that the idea was not to
highlight licentious behaviour in campuses, but to find out
the awareness levels on contraception and safe sex among
adolescents. Many college principals too trashed the results
of the survey.
However, this is not the first time that sex surveys have
pushed up eyebrows. In one of its earliest editions (in 1995)
Outlook published a sex survey which clearly attracted
new readers. As recently as 2003, both news magazines again
came up with sex surveys. And now, just two years after that,
the surveyors are out in the street again. Not just India
Today and Outlook, many others too have tried to
board the sex survey caravan before. The way the latest case
proceeds may be an eye-opener for all.
OUR MEDIA EDITOR