Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Dos and Don’ts on how to use the PM’s pics for Government ads

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi doesn't want even Cabinet ministers to select his pictures that appear in government advertisements. PM's principal secretary, Nripendra Mishra, issued a circular to all secretaries of the Government of India on August 9 listing out dos and don'ts on how to use the PM's photograph.

A copy of the final advertisement carrying the PM's picture was always sent to the PMO for approval. After approval, the PMO used to send the advertisement to the Directorate of Advertising And Visual Publicity, which in turn released the advertisement to newspapers. But this was a mere formality and the Prime Minister's Office did not have any role in selecting pictures or changing the content.

All this would change. Unlike the practice of sending the final copy to the PMO, Mishra has asked for three options from all ministries. "All ministries/departments are requested to furnish at least three different options (layouts) for approval, so that a reasonable choice can be made among available alternatives," wrote Mishra. 

This has to reach the PMO, at least, five working days before the scheduled date of publication. Also, the PMO wants the content "to convey a clear message to the target audience... be appealing to the reader, and be informative." Nripendra Mishra says that careful thought should be given to the language-mix adopted for the advertisement, keeping in mind the audience and the states targeted. 

All government advertisements, henceforth, will have the website address of the department making the appeal at the bottom of the ad. The PMO has reiterated the need to pay, "special attention to the use of the social media to publicise government schemes. 

Mishra has asked all ministries to ensure that they select the media, that is, newspapers and other publications, based on these criteria. Obviously, the clear hint is that the ministries have been issuing advertisements without much attention to details like content, target and language and the choice of the media. 

The new set of instructions may put an end to old practice of ministers and bureaucrats patronising obscure publications, which mysteriously manage to ensure government advertisement without subscription or circulation base.