Lokpal Bill: Govt to counter Anna Hazare's social media clout

Yatish Yadav   New Delhi     Last Updated: December 15, 2011  | 00:00 IST

Caught napping during the anti-corruption movement nearly three months ago, the UPA government has put together a blueprint to counter the effective use of the social media by Team Anna ahead of the December 27 agitation for a strong Lokpal Bill.

Anna Hazare's team also got into a huddle on Wednesday for a two-day session to sharpen its strategy for the fourth leg of the mass agitation in the wake of the unsatisfactory parliamentary standing committee report on the Lokpal Bill.

A dedicated team of tech savvy officials has been roped in by the government to scan Facebook and Twitter - the two popular social networking sites already used successfully by Team Anna. Interestingly, the babus would use proxy or independent identities to camouflage the fact that the government is behind the retaliation.

The government aims to respond to Team Anna activists' posts and tweets in real time, stressing its views on the Bill's aspects as well as the other measures taken on black money and corruption.

It is in this backdrop that the cabinet on Tuesday gave the go-ahead to a series of legislations to curb corruption - to protect the whistleblowers, on citizen charter and making the judiciary accountable, the sources added.

The ministries of law and information and broadcasting have specifically been told to update their websites daily dur-ing the planned agitation to highlight the government's efforts in hoisting a strong Lokpal Bill.

"To neutralise Team Anna's updates on Twitter and Facebook in real time, the government proposes to share a link on all ministerial websites. It will have all the details related to Lokpal and how government has been trying to bring several other Bills for more accountability within the system," the sources added.

Another team is being raised to immediately mount a counter-offensive on Twitter in case, say, Kiran Bedi tweets with an allegation against the government. A link will also be pasted on the tweet for an analysis of the government's take on the Bill.

Sources also confirmed that backdoor talks with the electronic media are also on the government's agenda to convince the private channels to avoid the agitation's non-stop coverage. The government believes that Anna's previous agitation fanned across the country due to the 24x7 coverage by news channels.

"We don't want to be seen trying to gag the media. Our effort is to reach out to the maximum number of people, mostly the youth and educated class, to inform them about the government's efforts," a senior official involved in the exercise said.

Courtesy: Mail Today

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