Skip to main content

Managing news? Rajasthan govt follows Centre to rope in social media influencers

By Rosamma Thomas* 

In May 2021, the Advertising Standards Council of India issued guidelines for social media influencers, under which it is mandatory for influencers to tag their promotional material. The assumption is that consumers have a right to know if they are reading or consuming content that is paid for. A French Artificial Intelligence firm, Reech, has been roped in to monitor those violating the guidelines.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology issued a tender on March 3 for empanelling social media marketing agencies under a project called MyGov. Although the government has a Press Information Bureau and a mechanism under it to spread information, the help of such agencies is sought to popularize government schemes.
Now, the Rajasthan Government too has issued a gazette notification on June 26, 2023, seeking social media applicants to engage for regular advertising. The influencers have been placed in different categories, based on the number of followers. The top-most category, or category A influencers, have at least 10 lakh followers each and can get advertisements worth at least Rs 5 lakh per month from the state government. Category D, with the lowest number of subscribers of at least 10,000, are entitled to advertisement of Rs 10,000 per month. On occasion, the notification states that even those not meeting these criteria may be engaged, for specific purposes.
The new advertising strategy will have long-term impact on how news is produced and consumed
The Rajasthan government has a department of information technology and communication, and it also has regular government personnel engaged in the information and public relations department of the state government. The need for an additional allocation for advertising through social media influencers is not apparent, under the circumstances. Given that funds for the purpose of engaging these social media influencers will be drawn from the state budget, it would be ideal for the state government to offer proactive public disclosure of who is engaged under the scheme.
The need for outsourcing such work is unclear, since the government has the wherewithal to reach out to the masses already through the regular media. The sidelining of the mainstream media, and the promotion of social media influencers through such advertising strategy, is bound to have long-term impact on the manner in which news is both produced and consumed. It would be good for observers of the media to study the impact of this outsourcing of media functions to social media influencers.
---
*Freelance journalist 

Comments

TRENDING

Misleading ads 'manipulate, seduce, lure' to market unhealthy harmful food

By Our Representative  The Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest (NAPI) in its new report “50 Shades of Food Advertising” has sought to expose how seductive, luring, manipulative or deceptive these advertisements can be. Consequences of such advertising are increased intake of unhealthy food products that is associated with obesity and diabetes, it says. 

Why's Govt of India reluctant to consider battery storage system for renewal energy?

By Shankar Sharma*  If having so many small size battery energy storage system (BESS) at different locations of the grid, as in the report from Australia (a portfolio of 27 small battery storage projects across three Australian states that will total arounds 270 MWh), is considered to be techno-economically attractive in a commercially driven market such as Australia, the question that becomes a lot more relevance to Indian scenario is: why are our planners not in favour of installing such small size BESS at most of the distribution sub-stations not only to accelerate the addition of RE power capacities, but also to minimise the need for large size solar/ wind power parks, dedicated transmission lines and pumped storage plants; which will also minimise the associated technical losses.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Failure of governance': India, China account for 54% pollution-related deaths globally

By Vikas Parsaram Meshram*   A recent report jointly prepared by UNICEF and the independent research organization Health Effects Institute has been released, and the statistics within it are alarming. It states that in 2021, air pollution caused the deaths of 2.1 million Indians, including 169,000 children who hadn't yet fully experienced life. These figures are indeed distressing and raise questions about why there hasn't been more serious effort in this direction, putting policymakers to shame. 

New MVA-INDIA MPs asked to raise Maharashtra milk farmers' demand

By Our Representative  All-India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) national president Dr Ashok Dhawale and AIKS Maharashtra general secretary Dr Ajit Nawale have asked three newly-elected MPs of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA-INDIA) from the milk belt of Maharashtra Dr Amol Kolhe (NCP),  Bhausaheb Wakchaure (SS), and Nilesh Lanke (NCP), to take up the cause of milk farmers of Maharashtra in Parliament.  After congratulating them on their resounding victory over their BJP-NDA rivals, the AIKS leaders apprised them of the milk farmers struggle which is intensifying in the state under the leadership of the AIKS and the Milk Farmers Joint Struggle Committee, and requested them to support it. All three MPs agreed not only to support, but also to take the initiative in this struggle, an official AIKS communique claimed. Farmers in Maharashtra are currently getting as low as Rs 24-27 per litre for cow milk, which is being sold in the market for Rs 56-60 per litre, the AIKS leaders noted. The low price to farmer

Report suggests Indian democracy 'hasn't achieved' equitable economic decentralization

By Vikas Parsaram Meshram  The news that the current economic inequality in the country is worse than during British rule is unsettling. This suggests the harsh reality that our democracy has not achieved equitable economic decentralization. A recent report by Thomas Piketty and three other economists reveals shocking findings: in 2023-24, the top 1% of the wealthiest people in India hold 40% of the nation's wealth, with a 22.6% share in income.