<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Apart from disseminating government-related information to the media, departmental publicity officers may now have some new roles to play.They may now be required to closely track important events and assist in countering negative news trends, push positive stories about the government for improved publicity, and also leverage social media for effectively communicating the government’s perception over issues of national relevance.These could be part of a new Standard operating procedure (SOP) for the Press Information Bureau (PIB), constituted recently by its director general Frank Noronha, for disseminating information and the government’s reactions.According to sources, the new SOP could entail publicity officers to track pre- and post-coverage of events and alert relevant authorities in instances of negative trends so that they could be countered immediately. They may also have to put up positive stories about the government appearing in media and put it up to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B), which can further publicise them on relevant platforms.Sources say I&B Minister Smriti Irani had also proposed that the publicity officer of each ministry will prepare a list of 10 prominent writers or speakers who would be sector experts, and can be asked to put across the government’s perspective on different media platforms on important matters. This could also feature in the proposed SOP for PIB.They will also have to coordinate with public service broadcasters Doordarshan and All India Radio regarding important government events to ensure adequate coverage and would also have to meet their technical requirements, as well as tweet and share reactions of ministers of different ministries.DNA had first reported about a circular issued by the I&B Ministry warning officers to refrain from speaking to media without permission from competent authorities, citing the PIB’s information dissemination manual which lays down guidelines for officers’ interaction with the media on the government’s behalf.The new SOP could be part of the existing manual and is likely to be finalised soon, sources said.

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New SOP may make govt officers push positive stories & track negative trends