Prime Minister Narendra Modi is known to keenly follow media reports about him but instructions to the Press Information Bureau (PIB) from his office suggest he is just as eager to stay abreast of what the media writes about the government, his party, its allies and the Opposition.
The PMO has told the PIB — the government’s publicity and communication arm — to send morning media reports in a structured format under seven specific heads. It wants positive and negative reports about the Prime Minister, the government, the BJP and its allies and the Opposition meticulously flagged and segregated in the report. The other three heads under which the PIB needs to log media reports are grievances, editorials, op-eds and other articles.
It has been a long-standing practice of the PIB to send media reports to the PMO every morning. It was earlier compiled by the PM unit of the bureau and used to be a mishmash of reports about the government and sundry ministers depending on their standing in the government. However, with a PMO directive specifying that the report must have a pre-decided structure and be brief — not more than 10 pages — there is a greater emphasis on the compilation and despatch of the report than ever before. It also has to reach the PMO by 9.15 am sharp.“Recently the PMO has made it clear that it wants the report under specific heads and there should also be a clear demarcation of positive and negative reports that appear in the media. Earlier reports about allies or opposition parties were not routinely included in the report but now the South Block has made it clear that this is also something that they want reports about on a daily basis,” a source said.
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This is the latest in a series of new measures that the government has taken to keep itself and the PM aware of what is making news in the media. Sometime back the Information and Broadcasting Ministry also started sending a report to the PMO and the Cabinet Secretariat about what is trending on the social media. The move is in keeping with the image of the PM as a tech-savvy politician.