The Laugh Sites

In­dian spoof web­sites are adding that bit of light­hearted color to an other­wise sombre elec­tion sce­nario.

Southasia - - CONTENTS -

World fa­mous whistle­blower and owner of Wik­iLeaks, Ju­lian As­sange woke up one day to find, much to his amaze­ment, that he was en­dors­ing In­dia’s Bharatiya Janata Party and its leader Naren­dra Modi.

The BJP was ap­par­ently us­ing a leaked memo to claim that Modi was re­garded as ‘in­cor­rupt­ible’ by Ju­lian As­sange and his Wik­iLeaks. The web­site and its owner soon is­sued a clar­i­fi­ca­tion that they never made such a claim. In its ef­forts to con­trol the dam­age, an em­bar­rassed BJP said that Modi did not need As­sange’s en­dorse­ment as he was “above such cer­tifi­cates.”

Ideally, the mat­ter should have died down within a few days but it did not – thanks to the spoof and satire web­sites that have grown in strength and in­flu­ence over the last few years.

As a re­sult, what fol­lowed was a flood of pic­to­rial mes­sages – or memes as they are pop­u­larly known – with a se­ri­ous-faced As­sange ‘en­dors­ing’ funny lines such as ‘Mul­ti­player games should never be con­sid­ered in­ter­rupt­ible’ to ‘Amer­ica is not afraid of Pom­peii. Given all its years of dor­mancy, it’s ev­i­dent that it is inerupt­ible’ to ‘If you are a bad gam­bler, you will lose a lot of money In Crap Ta­bles.’

Al­though these web por­tals have ex­isted for some years, the elec­tion sea­son has pro­vided them with the fod­der they thrive on – politi­cians mak­ing all kinds of state­ments and their strange an­tics. Web por­tals such as The Un­real Times, Fak­ing News, News That Mat­ters Not, Farzi News, The In­dia Satire and Ha­hakar News, to name a few, as well as some pages on Face­book, are ac­tively pro­duc­ing satir­i­cal news.

Their stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dure in­cludes se­lect­ing ran­dom state­ments of fa­mous politi­cians and twist­ing them to make fake news sto­ries that read like se­ri­ous news but have an in­her­ent el­e­ment of satire. They some­times present com­pletely out­landish ideas in the form of ap­par­ently in­nocu­ous ev­ery­day news. For ex­am­ple the head­line ‘Mum­bai named sec­ond most hon­est city while Sharad Pawar was not in the city’ or ‘I never asked the pub­lic that ques­tion about go­ing to the wash­room: Ke­jri­wal.’

In ad­di­tion to In­dian politi­cians, these web­sites are known to tar­get in­ter­na­tional politi­cians and crick­eters in their spoofs. At times, in­stead of news sto­ries, they present pic­to­rial sto­ries where speech bub­bles are added to dif­fer­ent

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