Hiring “pro-Congress journalists” for its research team is part of the new Congress plan to spruce up its media strategy ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
In an internal document circulated among the participants at the two-day workshop of Congress spokespersons and panelists that concluded Tuesday, the state units have been told to set up research cells comprising of “a large number of knowledgeable people from the party, academics, specialists, pro-Congress journalists and others who can give information and inputs”.
Citing reasons for setting up a research cell at the AICC, the document states, “Media has never been friendly to us (Congress), hence we need to be pro-active and give our inputs…We in the Congress have always been slow in talking about ourselves.”
Pushed on a back-foot by a series of scams since UPA-II came to power in 2009 which were highlighted by the media in a big way, the Congress is of the view that the “unsubstantiated allegations only helped in the opposition mud-slinging” virtually going unchallenged.
‘The opposition propaganda borders on untruths, is relenting and the media picks up what it is fed. Our opposition (read BJP) has always been efficient and trained and planned in manufacturing information, twisting truths and facts and in spreading propaganda,” the document that was part of the presentation – Research Methodology and Linkages with the AICC – made by national spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit and his team.
“Today, with media, social media and need to be updated and contextual interaction, we are very often without adequate and correct knowledge.”
Apart from preparing base papers and notes on politically relevant issues, the cell would build a database of Congress leaders, Congress friends, supporters and sympathizers and collect, collate and publish information, analysis and date to service social media unit, spokespersons, leaders and state units.
The state units have also been asked to track information, questions on Congress, propaganda against its leaders, party and the UPA government on all media.