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Home » Business » Trends » journalism » Govt. Plans Massive Surveillance of Media; All Negative News To Be Severely Monitored
Last updated: February 25, 2016 at 10:13 am

Govt. Plans Massive Surveillance of Media; All Negative News To Be Severely Monitored

Media News

“Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.” – George Orwell, 1984

Indian Government has decided to closely monitor all negative news emerging against them on digital, TV and print media.

As per reports emerging, a special ‘National Media Analytics Centre’ (NMAC) would be set up, which is do a round the clock surveillance of every blog, website, news portal, TV channel, magazines and other forms of media.

Insider reports claim that last month, Government of India had asked all ministries to set up a quick response team comprising of experts from Press Information Bureau (PIB), Govt. officials and other specialists whose task would be to respond to all negative news regarding the Government and respond accordingly.

Officials from Home, I&B and External Affairs ministries would be part of this tea, which shall analysis, coordinate, disseminate information and provide feedback on ‘public perception and national security’.

A Government official shared with Indian Express: “The government will keep a watch on the narrative in all such threads. Every time a negative narrative surfaces, a possible counter would be initiated — through press releases, briefings or press conferences, depending on the intensity or standing of the post,”

‘National Media Analytics Centre’ (NMAC) would work directly under National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), which is India’s ‘apex agency to monitor country’s political, economic, energy and strategic security concerns’. It was formed by ex-PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1998, and Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor heads it right now.

Core of ‘National Media Analytics Centre’

National Media Analytics Centre’s monitoring and surveillance strategy would be based on a unique tracking software developed by Ponnurangam Kumaraguru, who is an Assistant Professor at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi.

This one of its kind software would scan and crawl all social media content, and identify ‘hostile and aggressive’ content by analysing a set of terms and phrases. Just like Google’s index, this software will then tag these content based on the severity of the matter, and classify them as negative, neutral or positive sentiments.

Accordingly, action would be taken after analysing the writer/social media users’ past history, his previous comments, write-ups and intentions per se.

As per the source, “The software would also help recall the past pattern of the writer to check the number of times he took a negative or positive stand, his background, and preferences of websites and areas of interest to judge whether they were aimed at fomenting trouble or radicalization,”

The proposal of NMAC was sent to PIB director-general Frank Noronha by Deputy National Security Advisor Arvind Gupta.

Objective of NMAC

NMAC’s primary objective would be to instantly reply and counter those negative comments, emotions, and to avoid controversy which can snowball into major crisis very soon on social media.

The report generated via this software shall be promptly handed over to the concerned agencies, who can even make an arrest based on the need.

Some experts are stating that this protocol is an indirect way to implement Section 66A, which was recently quashed by Supreme Court.

Indian Government already has a New Media Wing which observes and monitors social media; and Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC) which tracks the content of 600+ news channels round the clock.

It seems NMAC would work closely with these two monitoring team, and have massive information and data on every aspect of media.

We will keep you updated as more details come in.

Image Source: Shutterstock.com

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