Minister wants transparency and accuracy in government information to media
NEW DELHI :Emphasising that the future belongs to digital media, Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday urged the bureaucracy to ensure that the information flow from the government is factual, accurate.
Jaitley was of the opinion that there was a large section of people which was interested in news beyond television debates. He was addressing a workshop which was attended by the backbone of the government – joint secretaries and information officers – on the challenges faced in communication in wake of the new media revolution.
Arun Jaitley, who himself has authored popular blogs and has a strong presence on social media, cited how he reads newspapers online before he goes to bedThe Union minister said that 24×7 television news channels had turned the country into a media-driven society where national agenda was being set during prime time debates.
He, however, hoped that this was a transient phase and believed that the future belongs to digital media. “Every institute in India has become media driven. If there is news against any ministry or minister, at least three quarters of the day is spent on fire fighting. I hope this is a transient change,” Jaitley said.
Jaitley, who himself has authored popular blogs and has a strong presence on social media, cited how he reads newspapers online before he goes to bed.
“I, for instance have started reading newspapers before I go to sleep. “Ninety per cent of what I read late in the evening is what newspapers are printing in the morning,” the minister said while stressing on the point that print medium was shrinking.
The minister felt that the print medium will ultimately close close, if not in the near future.
The minister, who is often seen on TV, declared that his own TV viewing time had declined. Urging civil servants to capture the space as a large segment of audience wants factual and accurate information, Jaitley said they should have clear distinction between propaganda and information.
“Your job is not propaganda. The discipline of a civil servant is not propaganda. In my field you can do it,” he said. The I&B minister said government websites should be credible and correct as there is a large section of people who want to know actually what is happening.
“In the game of government, there is huge institutional mechanism which is led by political mechanism”. Jaitley said that the media is also interested in the decision-making process of the government and asked civil servants to be cautious while presenting their views.
“You must be conscious. We are in an open society where there is no secrecy in governance.
“The use of language, the restraint we exercise should be responsible” he said while adding that civil servants could express their views but should do it in a logical way rather than adopting a ‘bombshell’ manner.