We get it. An independent media is a big pain in the neck if you’re a government that doesn’t like answering questions – or having its power challenged.
So we’ve put together a quick guide on how to intimidate an independent media. If a story cuts too close to the truth, there are a lot of ways to shush annoying voices.
1. Get your friends and family to file defamation cases.
The Wire has two defamation cases from Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group totalling Rs 11,000 crore – for its reporting on the Rafale deal.
But if that sounds like a big number, wait for the rest.
There’s another six cases of defamation from the Adani group (three criminal and three civil worth Rs 300 crore), two from BJP president Amit Shah’s son (one criminal and one civil worth Rs 100 crore), two suits from BJP MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar (for Rs 40 crore) and one Rs 10 crore suit from ‘Sri Sri Ravishankar’.
Total cost to The Wire for pursuing independent journalism: Rs 11,450 crore.
2. Start attacking the business interests of those who have funded The Wire.
According to a report by The Print, the Narendra Modi government has been “hesitant” about giving the “institute of eminence” tags to certain universities – including Ashoka, KREA and Azim Premji.
Why these universities? Because they’re associated with people who have been critical of the government.
The Print says it accessed a note – sent by the IB to the Ministry of Human Resource Development – which describes the vice-chancellor of Ashoka University, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, as an unrelenting critic of the government. The university’s chairman, board of trustees, and founder Ashish Dhawan, it adds, “also fund anti-government propaganda sites like the Wire.in”.
HRD ministry officials have already denied the note’s existence but the reporter who broke it says they have a copy.
3. Start trolling people who have funded The Wire.
We also wish we had recordings of the number of times ministers and PMO officials have tried to strong arm our donors at parties and weddings to stop them from supporting The Wire.
The best way for you to ensure that press remains free and independent is to support the news organisation of your choice, because no matter how powerful, there is no power strong enough to suppress a billion voices.
If you wish to support The Wire, you can click here.