The Press Information Bureau, a government organ that operates with notions and practices that were in vogue roughly three centuries ago, earned the moniker Photoshop Images Bureau with the astonishing feat it pulled off last evening, of embarrassing a Prime Minister who was doing his job during a great calamity.
A day later, it has pulled off yet another one. The government's official communications arm has now acknowledged its monumental incompetence with a statement that is a monument to monumental incompetence. In inscrutable language, it jumps through hoops to ultimately say: "let's pretend like nothing happened. Except, there are sections in the media".
Here is the full text of the statement:
Clarification regarding merger of two pictures on PIB’s Twitter Handle and Website
Pictures of Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi undertaking the aerial survey of flood affected areas of Tamil Nadu were released on PIB Twitter Handle and PIB’s website last evening.
Out of the seven pictures released, one picture used the technique of merging two pictures. This is being referred to as “Photoshopping” in sections of media. This happened due to error of judgement and the picture was subsequently deleted. PIB regrets the release of the above mentioned picture. Inconvenience caused is regretted.
Now let us read this closely.
The title says: "Clarification regarding merger of two pictures on PIB’s Twitter Handle and Website".
Ok, we are about to discuss the merger of two pictures. Sounds rather respectable. Perhaps the merged entity will acquire another picture?
The first line that follows the title is an unexceptionable fact. Pictures were indeed released. Then comes the loops.
"Out of the seven pictures released..."
This is an important caveat. Please note that we released six pictures without screwing up. That is the main thing.
"one picture used the technique of merging two pictures..."
Oh cool. A technique of merging pictures. Sounds like fun. Why was it done?
"This is being referred to as “Photoshopping” in sections of media."
Damnit. These sections of media, always creating trouble. And they are saying what? Photoshopping?! Why would they say that when all that you did was to use the technique of merging two pictures. What an uncouth insinuation.
"This happened due to error of judgement..."
Ah, an error of judgment. The kind of momentary lapse that could happen to any honest man. Really, noone is to blame.
"...and the picture was subsequently deleted."
Oh ok. That makes it cool then.
Now here's the statement the PIB should have released.
We have been naughty and we are sorry.
Last evening we released a picture that was manipulated. We shouldn't have done that. It is not our job to falsify. We have fixed our internal processes to make sure this isn't repeated (we disabled all functions except colour correction on Photoshop). We had a word with the cowboys who thought they could get away with it. They now work for our sister organization--Department of Advertising and Visual Publicity.
We apologize to the Prime Minister for the embarrassment this has caused him.
As penance, we are also retiring the use of the following phrases that exist due to force of habit and no other intelligible reason: "sections of media", "Inconvenience caused is regretted".
Really, it's fine to screw up. But to not have the heart to properly own up and say sorry is quite pathetic.
What happened yesterday was wilful manipulation and deliberate publication of a falsehood with the intent to mislead. It went counter to PIB's mission. That is too grave to simply be called an error of judgment. Today's nonsensical statement on the other hand, is a perfect illustration of an error of judgment.
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