No doubt about this. The Directorate of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) has changed for the better and one reason for this possibly could be the decision of the then Congress Government to make this department strictly professional. As the name itself suggests, the primary task of the DIPR should be about dissemination of information to the public on what the Government is doing for the people and with the department going professional it is trying to live up to its billing. This should be taken note of and the new BJP led coalition Government should ensure that nothing is done to derail the march towards becoming a professional department and why not ? If the Public Works Department and the Health Directorate can be manned by professionals with a generalist coming on top to see the overall functioning of the said departments, there is no reason why DIPR too should not go along the lines of these two departments. Continue with the policy of a media professional, a person who knows what disseminating information to the public is all about, man the department from the position of the Director. The administrative part of the department may come at the level of the Commissioner but for the day to day functioning of the DIPR, let a professional manage it, as it is being done now. The BJP led Government too must have realised the importance of keeping the public informed through the DIPR and it is not for nothing why reporters from the said department have been assigned to the Ministers concerned. The result is there for all to see, with Government news now occupying prime space in all the Imphal based dailies.
This is a huge change from the days when the Imphal based newspapers and newspapers in the districts had no idea of how DIPR was functioning. Things however seem to be changing and this is a welcome change. Significantly this change can be seen in how the State dailies have been covering Government news. To keep the record straight, no newspaper establishment in the State have surplus reporters so there have been times when Government programmes had to be given the miss but now with the DIPR using its staff and employees to cover the events and highlight the same to all the newspaper houses so that it can be carried as news items, the activities of the Government get all that more publicity. Herein lies the advantage of having a professional run the daily affairs of the DIPR. In Chief Minister N Biren, the State has a former journalist and this is all the more reason why the Chief Minister will know the advantages of letting professionals run the daily show at the DIPR and not some generalists, who may not have much of an idea of what news and information are all about. More importantly, it will not make much sense to let someone look after the affairs of a department, which is there to disseminate information of the Government to the public, who has little idea on how to differentiate between news and views.
Source: The Sangai Express