Combat Zone

Indian Prime Minister Modi announces he will take over from free press to uphold journalistic standards

Drawing demanding freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Picture Credit:Drawing by Arifur Rahman, Wikimedia Commons.

By Bean McQueen

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Wednesday that he would shut down all currently operating news outlets in India, and instead report on current events himself, so as to “protect the freedom of the press, and maintain the highest standards of journalistic integrity possible.” As all news outlets have since been shut down, this statement was recorded on what appeared to be a webcam and circulated via Twitter, with an addendum estimating that PM Modi would have newspapers and television broadcasts ready within the next week. In the statement, PM Modi elaborated on this decision: “They say if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. I was grievously saddened by the state of journalism in India before I took over, there was no freedom of the press, no unbiased, factual reporting! Journalism was inundated by nosy miscreants hellbent on blemishing the good name of my government. I had the Press Information Bureau tag fake news whenever they saw it, but those seditionists accused us of tagging articles that criticized the government! The absurdity! We’re the government, I think we’d know fake news about us when we spot it. But as if that wasn’t enough, they raised hell about us surveilling them. They’re supposed to be these watchdogs who advocate for transparency, why don’t they put their money where their mouth is and let us watch them? That’s why I’m so glad, after a trial run in Jammu and Kashmir, that I can now bring my famed neutrality and insightful political analysis to the national level. You won’t find a better source for updates on the actions and policies of the Modi administration than from Modi himself! I promise you, I will give you factual updates on my actions and policies right as they’re happening, and I will always speak truth to power, I’m very honest with myself!”

After clarifying with himself, as the sole journalist who could cover the address, that this was not a farce, PM Modi then elaborated on his qualifications for the role: “I won three Pulitzer Prizes, five Peabody Awards, and taught Walter Cronkite everything he knew about journalism. Moreover, all three of these claims have been verified by an independent fact-checker – myself! I can attest to my own self-sufficiency. By the way, if you still doubt that I can speak truth to power, the Pulitzers were for my heroic coverage of the Modi administration’s equally heroic actions to protect the hordes of grateful farmers, who amassed in New Delhi to express their support for our agricultural reforms, from nefarious outside influence by cutting their internet.”

Critics outside of India, previously expected to have decried this move as cementing Modi’s authoritarian grip on India, have apparently been too stupefied by the sheer brazenness of the move to register any sort of protest: attempts to interview them have been met with blank stares. In light of the comatose state of journalists around the world, PM Modi has since publicly offered to take over their jobs as well.