NEW DELHI — The Press Information Bureau, central government’s publicity wing, has rebuked South Indian English daily Deccan Herald for juxtaposing a statement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with British writer CS Lewis’s quote in a satirical feature.
Jaideep Bhatnagar, PIB principal director general wrote the daily on May 14 raising objections to placing PM Modi’s statement in the paper’s ‘speak out’ section on May 13.
The section in the daily uses satire by juxtaposing the statements of public figures with the famous quotes to expose the irony in the statements.
The paper had quoted Modi saying: “Last eight years of my service to the nation from Delhi (as PM) were dedicated to good governance and welfare of the poor.” Next, there was Lewis’ quote: “Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.”
The paper also listed some of the decisions taken by the Modi government in the last few years including demonetisation and the nationwide coronavirus lockdown. Besides, it also talked about issues like rise in fuel prices and the high levels of unemployment.
The PIB’s letter said the newspaper was “misleading the readers’. Batnagar wrote that the statement and quote were “surely unrelated” and the newspaper had “mischievously and falsely conveyed some sort of contextual congruity”.
“It has been further noticed that you have mischievously and deliberately added a list of events to give it a misleading and false narrative,” he said.
In its response the newspaper defended itself saying that the “Speak Out” section does not report factual news, but is an “irreverent take on a public figure’s statement of the day, to be regarded in the same way as a cartoonist’s art”.
The editor said that the events referred to in the letter made it clear that the “irreverence/opposition sought to be expressed subjectively is to specific policies and not to the person or office of the prime minister”.