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.
— Col Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) January 5, 2019
Here’s ThePrint’s response to the minister’s video:
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’.
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.
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.