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Rathore urges govt. officials to aggressively use social media

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NEW DELHI: Taking a cue from Prime Minister Modi’s effective use of social media, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting (MIB) Rajyavardhan Rathore’s message to his officials is use social media aggressively for disseminating information on government.

"We need to open up. Typically, governments have been with iron curtains all around. But today time is changing, so we first need to change our mindset," A PTI report quoted Rathore as saying today.

The junior MIB minister was inaugurating a workshop for government officials in Press Information Bureau (PIB) on how to use Facebook more effectively for communication.

PIB is the public relations division of the government and its official under a director-general are entrusted with disseminating information on government initiatives. 

Addressing PIB officials, the PTI report states, Rathore advised that the process of how information is shared from decision makers to disseminators needs to get faster and social media can play a key role as it not only shapes debates on TV but also public opinion.

According to the minister, "You cannot hide information in today's world. You have to share that information. The idea is to send the right kind of content that people can engage with." 

Pointing out that often incorrect information regarding ministries and government departments goes on social media,  Rathore advised that on such occasions the correct facts should be provided.

"That is the time you could get to the social media and correct that information. People are hungry for information," Rathore is said to have opined as per the PTI report.

The minister compared old and present times regarding communications. He said had it been older times pigeons would have to used for communicating and the head of PIB would have had maximum number of pigeons, hinting at the amount of communication that a government undertakes as part of its outreach programme.

A lot of people dismiss social media, saying the debate going on there is "junk", he said but emphasised that this very debate shapes what is reported on television and in the print media.

"It is shaping your mind when you sit on the dining table during dinner time and do your discussions," he is quoted as having said.

The minister pointed out that 85 per cent of federal ministers were on Facebook and 80 per cent ministries already have verified FB accounts.

Referring to PM Modi’s love for technology and effective use of social media, Rathore says the “coach has shown the way and it is now for the athelets to act.”

Interestingly when Rathore was questioned on Twitter for this government support to a private enterprise (Facebook) as being strange, the minister tweeted back saying: “Yes, but all communication tools, public/ private need to be utilised for empowering & enhancing outreach.”

Facebook executives were present on the occasion.

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