Our commitment to freedom of the press and the autonomy of public broadcasting is absolute: Prakash Javadekar

Minister of State (independent fee) for information and broadcasting, environment and climate change Prakash Javadekar is busy arranging the various hats he is expected to wear in this government.

He spoke to ET about Bharatiya Janata Party’s approach to media, social media, media control and more.
Edited excerpts …

In terms of communication and communication, the BJP’s election campaign has been identified as an objective lesson in this area. How can you translate this into government structure?

All communication needs of the government will be processed in our ministry through a social media hub. I offer this service to all ministers. Their contact on Facebook, Twitter and other social media will be managed by the new media wing, social media and communication center.

The advantage that the party saw in reaching all the media was huge and it felt that the government was also using the available platforms. That is why this new center will provide all the help needed by various ministers and ministries to create and manage their Facebook pages, twitter handles and reach through social media. Traditional media is important, of course, but social media needs to be improved.

What are your priority areas for this (I&B) ministry?

We need to ensure transparency, to make our vehicles more efficient. We also want to be accessible and responsible. There are now third and fourth stages of digitalisation, we will accept this only after we take all things into account. The problem is that digitalization increases revenue from paid channels, but customers want less advertising.

11,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 new receivers are now needed, which is a great case for the local population instead of just importing them. I will talk to the finance and trade ministers about how this can be done.

During the election interview with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked questions about the autonomy of the public operator. As an I&B minister, how will you handle this?

From the outset, I would like to say that our commitment to freedom of the press and the autonomy of public service broadcasting is absolute. But freedom or autonomy has its responsibilities.

The media has a responsibility to be neutral and objective. There are always fears that when the government spends so much, it must reach out to society. The public operator is a tool for informing the public. Having said all this, allow me to state emphatically that we have no plans to impose control on the media.

Modi has been described as the prime minister of “post television” because he reaches out directly to his audience or voters. How would you rework the role of traditional media?

This is a lesson for everyone on how to express your point of view in the way the Prime Minister does. Minister of Law and Communications Ravi Shankar Prasad and I have been appointed spokesman for the government and we will soon come up with a communication plan that meets everyone’s needs. This government is different from the way it approaches issues and problems.

For example, the design of Modigi for the cabinet. Yesterday there were some problems with the environment and power. Piyush Goel holds the portfolio for electricity, coal and renewable energy, I hold the portfolio for the environment and between the two of us and 10 employees we arranged the things that the previous government had tied in a group of ministers (GoM). The emphasis is on synergy. And there will be something for the media to learn from the new government and its functioning.

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