Being authorised to speak to the media isn’t easy

  • Sanjana Bhalerao Sanjana Bhalerao Sanjana Bhalerao, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Oct 12, 2014 00:45 IST

With the elections around the corner, all the major political parties in the fray are making sure that they do not trail behind when it comes to coverage on prime time news.

With parties having limited time to campaign and defend themselves on the various controversies, spokespersons are fighting daily on the party’s behalf in television debates.

From ensuring that only authorised statements reach the media, all the negative and controversial stories are dealt with on time to increasing the visibility of the party in television debates, spokespersons are working overtime to woo voters.

Their comments are carefully orchestrated to make sure that party is speaking in one voice.

“My day starts with reading 15 newspapers, followed by media interactions almost every hour. I prepare for almost 100 possibilities that might occur in a given political scenario. The day winds down with at least four debates on TV channels. It is a 24-hour job and you have to be on your toes every second,” said Keshav Upadhye, state BJP spokesperson.

With the advent of an array of websites and forums that churn out articles every hour, it is not just print media or television channels that these spokespersons deal with.

As many refer to the digital world for information on candidates, the work also includes being informed about developments on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other forums.

“It is not just unleashing propaganda. Political acumen, analysing a situation and giving prompt reactions is a must,” said Dr. Neelam Gorhe, who is the face of the Shiv Sena.

Politicians are sensitive about their image, especially during elections. Therefore, it is the spokesperson’s job to weed out any news that might hurt the party leaders.

To survive, you have to be an expert at the law, have a command over various languages and a financial brain.

“I am talking on the behalf of party; it is a huge responsibility. It is not just about arguments in a political debate; we also have to maintain party decorum, ideology and showcase the party’s achievements. We cannot loose our temper and act naive,” said Dr Raju Waghmare, spokesperson, Congress.

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