This essay has been adapted from a keynote address to young journalists and academics delivered for the 2020 Media Meet at Christ University, Bengaluru, on 27 August.
Early in 2019, the chief editor of a mainstream media house in Delhi took me out for a meal. Let’s call him “TK TK ji.” As many in the media would know, TK is an abbreviation used often in editing, which stands for “To Come.” TK remains as a placeholder, until additional material is added or the exact details placed at a later stage—the odd abbreviation a very uncommon occurrence in the English language, making it easy to spot while proofing. And “ji,” of course, is the gender-neutral honorific in Hindi and Punjabi. Now, TK TK ji told me about the pressure he regularly faces from the Narendra Modi government. He told me about a call he once received, incidentally after a story The Caravan had published.