Tuesday, 24 May, 2022
HomeIndiaGovernanceMinister Rathore’s rebuttal of ThePrint report on media monitoring doesn’t hold good

Minister Rathore’s rebuttal of ThePrint report on media monitoring doesn’t hold good

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Union I&B minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has criticised ThePrint report on media monitoring and called it incorrect. Here’s our response.

New Delhi: Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has put out a video response to ThePrint’s report that the Press Information Bureau (PIB) has been asked by the government to step up monitoring of social, digital and traditional media.

The PIB has also been asked to flag ‘negative publicity’ of the Prime Minister’s Office and other crucial ministries, just before the general elections.

Here’s ThePrint’s response to the minister’s video:

‘Breaking news’

The minister has objected to this report being called ‘breaking’. ThePrint was the first to report on the government’s plan, and in media parlance, that is indeed called ‘breaking news’.

‘Snooping’

The report said PIB has floated a fresh ‘Request for Proposal’ to hire private agencies to keep tabs on print media, television news channels, online media and social media.

In the video, the minister says ThePrint’s report states that the agencies were being hired to snoop. However, the report makes no mention about these agencies being tasked with snooping of any sort. The report only refers to the exhaustive multimedia monitoring proposed by PIB.

The report refers to snooping in the context of an earlier proposal for a social media hub which was junked by the government after it was accused of amounting to snooping.

‘Re-contract’

In his video, the minister says such monitoring was being done earlier too, and that the work is just being re-contracted.

The contract he is referring to was for only sourcing newspaper clippings.

There was no contract between PIB and other agencies to monitor television, online and social media. This proposal for exhaustive multimedia monitoring by private agencies for PIB, especially for negative news, has been made for the first time.

PIB need not have floated a new tender and the existing contract for press clippings could have been extended if there was no change in the scope of the work.

The report is accurate and ThePrint stands by it.


Also read: Months before polls, Modi govt plans to monitor media to flag ‘negative publicity’


 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I am sorry. This is not the Standard Print. I find the argument from the Minister completely logical to take feedback from all quarters. In-fact you knew that this kind of system of feedback existed. No harm in increasing the scope of the contract due to changing times. Otherwise if the same logic goes, maybe we would only report what pigeons say! The whole intention of your article was to create the negative fuss. I am a neutral man but cannot agree more with the minister on this.
    Thank you and I still love reading Print!

  2. Ms. Amrita & Mr. Shekhar – Please re-read the last two statements of previous article, anyone can interpret that you are trying to mislead people by stating that new tender is equivalent to snooping even if some language might have been changed. I believe Mr. Rathore has challenged this aspect and he is fully correct in his approach.

    “The PIB tender is similar to another floated by BECIL last year, which was later scrapped after accusations from various quarters that it amounted to government snooping on citizens.
    Unlike the earlier one, the new tenders, floated by PIB and BECIL, have omitted contentious language that can be deemed as snooping but their effective job remains monitoring of all media.”

  3. Not very serious because Indian media by and large anyway are pro-govt. even before such measures. Anti-Modi or anti-govt. line by ordinary people hardly matters to them and so won ‘t bother.Problem is when important opinion makers, rich n famous …..don’t toe the govt. line or criticize them. These handful could face the music.

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