Times Network has taken exception to what the broadcaster described as “unregulated use of social media platforms” by its employees. Claiming to be the market leader in news broadcasting, the network’s employees were asked to maintain “fidelity to fact and reason” since their actions shape the public discourse. “In many cases, their personal opinion masquerades as fact, which reflects poorly upon the integrity and credibility of Times Network platforms. There have been instances when colleagues have chosen to retweet or repost invective, unfounded fact and slander against people in the news,” Times Network’s Head HR noted.
In light of the same, Times Network took the extraordinary step of preventing its journalists from commenting on civic issues, crime, news, and politics via their personal social media profiles unless the official social media handles of the broadcaster have reported on it. “Journalists should only retweet stories and opinion appearing on the official Twitter handle/FB/other social media pages of the various channels and properties of Times Network and Times Group,” the broadcaster noted. Insisting that these guidelines are premised on best international practices, journalists were also warned against using abusive language and indulging in polemics on social media opposed to the country’s law.
Owned by Bennett Coleman & Co. Limited (BCCL), Times Network operates news properties such as Times Now and ET Now. Recently, the network rebranded its property news channel Magicbricks Now as Mirror Now following the slump in real estate market post demonetisation.
Times Network’s business is not limited to the news genre. Other non-news channels forming part of Times’ portfolio include Movies Now, Movies Now 2, Movies Now HD, Romedy Now, Romedy Now HD and Zoom. The share of news channels in the overall revenues of Times Network is said to be not more than 35%. By the end of the fiscal year 2017-18, the network plans on contributing 15% to BCCL’s total revenues. Previously in 2014, BCCL asked its print journalists to maintain company authorised social media accounts and refrain from sharing links on their personal profiles.