Tewari to ministers: Want text to dominate govt ads

FP

The Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari has mooted a complete overhaul in the look of government advertisements. The move comes at a time when the UPA government has been drawing public ire on its poor handling of protests related to the Delhi gangrape incident.

On December 24, Tewari wrote to ministers that pictorial advertisements don't convey the policies, programmes and work of the government effectively and called for an immediate switch over to text advertisements.

"In a recent meeting of the Press Information Officers attached to various ministries, a thought emanated that rather than pictorial advertisements, it would perhaps be more appropriate if a predominantly text advertisements with succinct/concise pictorial presence, highlighting success stories and achievements of the ministry is released," Tewari wrote in the letter.

The PIO meeting took place on November 30 but the timing of the letter, almost four weeks later, is significant given that over the last one week, the government is fighting a perception battle on women's security, made worse by the roughshod handling of protesters by Delhi Police and the Delhi chief minister and police commissioner locking horns in public. The letter also indicates that with Delhi Assembly polls less than a year away and Lok Sabha elections due in 18 months, the government is giving serious thoughts to an image makeover.

"There was a lot of concern expressed by the minister and others on the constant negative publicity. Speakers felt that the reason for this is we bank on the media to project our good work while choosing to issue advertisements that effectively say very little, which is a waste of resources. That is when the minister asked us to treat advertisements as advertorials with sufficient text," said an official who attended the November 30 meeting.

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