Paid news in the service of the nation.
New Delhi: It’s gospel truth that Narendra Modi is the best prime minister of the country. Actually, he is the only prime minister of the country – and whether he’s the best ever is subjective.
That didn’t stop a recent article in the Mumbai Mirror from declaring:
“It’s a gospel truth that Narendra Modi is the best Prime Minister of the country.
The initiatives undertaken by the honourable Prime Minister have brought a paradigm shift in the country’s progress…”
This bold political analysis opened an article titled ‘Commando 2 to be the First Film to Fulfill PM Modi’s Dream’, in the edition of January 23, 2017. The rest of the feature explains that the upcoming film Commando 2, starring model Vidyut Jammval, “revolves around a commando… who is on a mission to eradicate black money, which has been siphoned to banks abroad.”
When the government announced its demonetisation policy last November, the makers of Commando 2 “realised how the PM and their films mission are actually identical” – even though the prime minister’s effort has not yet involved “martial arts stunts and adrenaline pumping sequences.”
The government has struggled to show credible results from its demonetisation drive. It must be welcome news that “Commando 2… will in fact take Prime Minister Modi’s dream a step forward by bringing back black money back to India” (sic).
While the article appears on the Mirror website with no disclaimer, and in the print edition in the regular news format, it was placed on page 27, which is marked in small print on the top of the page as ‘Promotion of business of entertainment’ – also known as advertising.
The Times group, which publishes Mumbai Mirror, sells a series of advertising ‘innovations’ which are hard to distinguish from editorial content, under the rubric of Medianet.
Commando 2 is the sequel to Commando: A One Man Army, which strengthened India’s strategic position by having Jammval escape sure death at the hands of the Chinese military.