Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni has said that MIB had redrawn its key policy parameters in an effort to ‘put people first’ and reach out to them effectively through innovative tools and processes. Citing the example of digitalisation of Doordarshan and AIR network, the Minister said this initiative ensured connectivity to the last mile in the remotest corner of the country.
Through such changed parameters, the Ministry was in the process of mainstreaming innovations and learning from the best practices of different stakeholders. It also enabled it to promote cost effective outreach tools through its various Media Units, while at the same time providing a platform to conduct a need assessment of the communication requirements at ground level. The Minister was speaking in the capacity as the Chief Guest at the Workshop on ‘Accelerating Rural Development and Strengthening Local Self Governance’ organized by the Ministry of Rural Development here today.
Elaborating further, the Minister said that the effort of the Ministry was to revitalize Media Units such as Song & Drama Division and Directorate of Field Publicity so that they could effectively communicate in a language and form that the people understood. Similarly, Prasar Bharti would fulfill the mandate of it being a Public Broadcaster by positioning appropriate programmes and content. The Minister further added that the Ministry had set a target of establishing 4000 Community Radio Stations by 2012, thereby establishing an effective advocacy tool for reaching out to the people. This would enable the community to be empowered with quality information and deliberate on issues directly concerning them within the given radius of 25 kilometers. Taking a cue from the success of ‘Azadi Express’ launched by the Ministry to commemorate 150 years of Independence, Smt. Soni said, in future the possibility of utilizing the medium of trains including their exterior for focused advocacy would be looked into.
The Minister stated that it was necessary to adopt ‘out of box’ thinking in mainstreaming the communication initiatives of the Government. She mentioned that the focus should also be on providing an integrated approach involving media units as well as wholesome entertainment. A case in point was the recent conference of Media Units organized in the North Eastern Region at Guwahati on 13th July, which witnessed the participation of all the North Eastern States. Being a first time initiative, it provided an opportunity to understand the problems face to face with the stakeholders.
Highlighting the diversity of the country, the Minister mentioned that it was important to outline media plans according to the regional configuration and target audience. It was important for ministries leading flagship programmes to focus on a media plan that took into account the diverse tastes of the target audience. Lauding the initiative of the Rural Development Ministry in organizing the workshop, the Minister said such integrated approaches facilitated the convergence of ideas, tools and processes.