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Government too plans to use social media

Last updated on: August 25, 2012 12:10 IST

The government of India might be facing criticism for curbing internet freedom, in the wake of the violence in Assam, but it is not averse to using social media to reach out to the citizens of the country.

It is now preparing to embrace social media sites in a formal way.

In a notification of the policy paper issued last week, the department said it sought to "ensure effective citizen engagement and communication with all stakeholders using various offline as well as online channels, including social media"

The Department of Electronics and Information Technology has been working on the policy on the 'Framework and Guidelines for Use of Social Media for Government Organisations' since 2011.

Citing reasons why the government needs to use social media, the draft of social media framework says use of platforms such as Facebook, Orkut and Twitter not only gives enhanced outreach, but also can connect policy makers to the citizens in real time.

The other reasons why the government needs to embrace social media, says the paper, are that these platforms offer the ability to connect with each and every individual.

Interestingly, the draft framework says its presence in social media will help the government in managing the perception of the users, who sometimes propagate "unverified facts and rumours with respect to government policies".

"The government must have presence on these platforms to counter such perceptions and to present the facts to enable making of informed opinion by the populace," it says.

Internet and Mobile Association of India, an industry body representing the digital businesses in India, has welcomed the notification of the policy paper.

Meanwhile, the association, in a statement issued on Friday, said all its member companies were cooperating with the government in removing 'hate speech' and other 'illegal content' from their platforms.

"All our members have been cooperating in the best possible manner to stave off the current prevailing since last week, and we would continue to do so," Subho Ray, president, IAMAI said in a statement.

He added any government order to be effective should also be based on the present context, and not a general order to remove un-contextual or legal content.