A Group of Union Ministers are working on overhauling the Centre's media and public outreach to spread the government's message.
The group of ministers (GoM), comprising nine Union ministers has recommended key areas to be focused on, such as addressing criticism, feeding positive stories and testimonials, Hindustan Times reported.
The recommendations are a part of the report prepared by the GoM, after conducting nearly six meetings since June 14, to discuss 'Government Communication' and include strategies to amplify messages through media engagement, outreach programs at the state and district levels.
Part of the suggestions also include developing Prasar Bharati News Service as a key news agency, and DD International to be put under consideration of one of the 'best international public broadcasters'.
The key areas reportedly discussed also include projecting India's soft power and boost initiative like 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' and 'Digital India'.
"The GoM was formed to streamline communication strategy a few months ago. We felt that there was a need to assess how we could reach effectively. Various ministers were part of it to remove voids in government communication. During COVID, small media outlets found it difficult to collect information and get videos. We figured out we needed to share videos [too]," two officials aware of the development told the media. The process has been underway for a long time, they added.
The GoM has also proposed to identify journalists who lost their jobs amid the pandemic, and are "supportive of the government or are neutral" so that various ministries could utilise their services.
According to the report, the GoM includes Cabinet ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Smriti Irani, Prakash Javadekar, S Jaishankar, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, and junior ministers Kiren Rijiju, Hardeep Singh Puri, Anurag Thakur and Babul Supriyo.
Reportedly, the group has shown the first presentation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has received additional inputs from him.
The ministers have also called for GoM for a new communication wing and establish a 'Fact Check Unit' for the social media platforms. The group has also suggested a research unit to collate all information in the proper format for easy and timely retrieval.
Besides, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has sought inputs from the group of secretaries on the action plan to implement the above recommendations. The media have reviewed the copy of the same.