Published on September 7th, 2011 | by Arsalan Mir2
Government Establishes Social Media Cell
Acknowledging on the fact that direct interaction with the individuals is much needed on Social Networks, the Press Information Department has established a Social Media Cell.
While speaking on the occasion, the Secretary I and B emphasized that one of the benefits of social media is the ability to have two way conversations and this will generate dialogue through which the government can have very useful inputs for policy formulation on issues of national importance.
The Secretary said that in an era of greater transparency and authenticity, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting should focus on the rapid delivery of new standard of messaging to interact with the social media community.
It was decided in the meeting that the Press Information Department will fully utilize the modern tools of communication in order to interact with the opinion makers and the general masses. The Cell will function as the federal government’s hub for interacting with the media, civil society and the users of the internet.
It may be mentioned that Pakistan is estimated to have a population of 20 million connected to the Internet. Internet use in Pakistan is growing at a rapid rate, particularly in urban centres, which are also home to populations who often form the backbone of public opinion formation. Mobile Internet use shot up 161 percent in 2010 alone.
Moreover, Pakistan has a lively and active bloggers community, with over three million citizen-journalists freely reporting on virtually every topic. Pakistan has one of the fastest-growing Facebook and Twitter-using populations in the world, with over four million Face book users.
The News further gives details on the functions, working structure and action plan of the cell.
There are three written functions of the social media cell including the publicity of the government, and monitoring and responding to critics of the government. The social media cell will be headed by a director and comprise two subordinate deputy rectors.
Under the two deputy directors, there will be three Information Officers looking after publicity, monitoring and response while there will be one IT professional and one special assistant performing “special assignments.” There will also be three assistant Information Officers to help the IOs with publicity, monitoring and response.
According to the action plan of the social media cell, targeted social sites will include 8 Facebook pages; four blogs including PID Official Pakistan at a Crossroads, Fata, Responsible media in Pakistan and Support Democracy; two discussions forums and one youtubeChannel. It is the plan of the social media cell to ensure networking with Publicity Officers, Regional Offices, Press Officers Abroad, PTV, APP and PBC as well as networking with popular local media organisations and participation in media sites/blogs etc.
The target audience of the social media cell is users of social media sites, the journalist community, intellectuals, columnists/ writers, opinion makers and politicians.
With this cell coming in place we now have a pro-government mouth-piece to talk to us on social networks. What’s your opinion on the matter?