In an exclusive conversation with Anurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief exchange4media & BW Businesssworld, Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, MoS, I&B Ministry spoke about the need for self regulation, the achievements of his Ministry and the need for Indian media to take the global route. Excerpts:
Anurag Batra (AB): How does the I&B Ministry look at the booming digital media industry and how do you plan to bring responsibility to digital media?
Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (RSR): Digital media is the new kid in town, so of course it will have the flamboyance, the glamour and the ease to work with, as is the case with the new generation. In fact, a lot of business houses and the government is using the digital media in a big way. The responsibility lies in each and every person who gets on with it. It’s finally your manners, your culture and your etiquette that you pick up in your house and it’s important to carry it beyond your house. Moreover, the way society works is that it creates a sense of do’s and dont’s in actual life, so therefore it will create it online too and the responsibility will come by itself.
AB: How can we make social media more responsible? Is the government thinking of bringing in some regulation for the online media or do you think the online media needs self regulation?
RSR: Regarding the subject, would the government like to regulate it, the answer is no. This is one medium which needs to be completely independent, as it is for the sheer reason why Internet came into existence. I believe self regulation is the ideal way to go about this. Perhaps, if you just follow the normal etiquettes of life it will do a lot of good in social media as well.
AB: Our Prime Minister through his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ made AIR more relevant and now DD even gets the first feed of his visits abroad. How do you think in the current regime DD and AIR can become more market friendly and more relevant and compete with private sector players?
RSR: The Prime Minister is our biggest brand in the country and the government gets access to the biggest brand in India. The PM has done a lot to popularise radio in India and AIR covers 98% of the geographical area of our country. I think the relevance of DD and AIR in the sense of competition that exists today can only be if we have greater quality in terms of content and in terms of delivery, and we are working towards it.
AB: What would you consider the major achievements of the I&B Ministry in the last three years and what will be your priorities for the next two years?
RSR: Our mandate is to carry the message of the government to the people. Moreover, the way we have used all the platforms and all the mediums of communication, I am very satisfied with it. In fact we have been using the new kid in town—the digital media, plus the PM is so savvy with technology. We have also used something which is very traditional like interpersonal communication. We have our units which go into the villages, which may be called media dark areas, and we have been able to initiate a two way communication with the government. I think that is the biggest work done in terms of communication by this government, it’s a two way communication now.
AB: If you have to give message to media professionals what would that be and what how do you see India media in comparison with global media?
RSR: I think what we all, including the media, understand well is that the truth will triumph. When you give news, it’s important to segregate news from views so that the uninitiated listener can grasp better the views and analysis of the anchor and the factual news. Other than that, the Indian media is expanding and I think the time is for our country to ensure that our news goes out to the world. If better quality news goes out, the better will be the consumption of the news.