In what seems to be a strange move, the Mamata led West Bengal Government is looking to hire a monitoring agency which will collect all that is said in the media about the Mamata and the Trinamool Congress Government and give the Chief Minister daily reports. I say strange because the purpose of this exercise seems to be crack down on the media for defamation instead of using it for the state’s development and outreach efforts.
Why is this so? Social media and the web has been harsh to Mamata, and with good reason. Her government has shown telltale signs of authoritarianism by getting people arrested for critiquing her. The purpose of this new agency seems to be to monitor the social and web channels and report everything that is said about her and her Government. I mean it is not illegal or anything. Many brands do this to gather data about what is being said about them. This particular area of expertise is called ORM which is short for Online Reputation Management, something that most digital and social media agencies offer their clients.
Gathering data is a brilliant thing but intent is a more important thing to look at. According to this Hindustan Times article, the intent seems to be to gather proof against media in case it defames the West Bengal Government. Isn’t that coming eerily close to the Big Brother scenario? Of course the media should not slander and defame anyone but putting aside resources and money for this seems to be a very low-priority thing to do especially in the light of the developmental stasis that the state of West Bengal seems to stuck in.
Besides the intent bit, I believe that Governments should use social and digital media to reach out to people, hear their problems and play an active role in contributing to the online conversation. This will keep Governments in the loop with what is happening on the Internet as far as administration and politics are concerned.
What are your thoughts on this development? Does it make sense to you? Share your thoughts with us.
Image Source | India Today