The government’s communication strategists will meet on Thursday to draw up plans for ‘image and perception management’ over worries that controversies such as the intolerance row and the recent JNU incident are affecting the administration’s image.
In a meeting with the publicity officers of each of the departments, the Press Information Bureau — the communication wing of the government — will go over ways ‘negative stories’ in the media can be countered.
Last month, PM Narendra Modi asked his council of ministers to shun “negativism”. He is said to have stressed on the need to popularise the government’s initiatives.
Presently, when controversies break out, perception reports are not being sent by the concerned department or ministry to the government. “The DPOs (departmental publicity officers) need to discuss their strategy with the PIB director general and keep his office informed of the development,” said an official.
The meeting will also discuss how DPOs can showcase government’s achievements more effectively. “There is a perception that there is inadequate coverage of important government initiatives and ministries are not doing much to disseminate information,” said a senior government official.
DPOs have also been told to put special focus on social media.
The information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry wants the social media cell to be “kept in the loop” for every government event or announcement that is made. “The government’s communication strategists, handling social media should be ready with proposed tweets before an important initiative is launched,” added another official.
A committee of secretaries set up last August had recommended that each government department should a communication strategy “that should be coordinated at the level of secretary”.