Indian Army Changing 15-year Old Media Policy

Indian Army

New Delhi: In keeping pace with the rapidly developing communication technology, Indian Army is altering its 15-year-old media policy to keep pace as information warfare becomes the new buzzword.

The aim is to liberalise the media policy and to address the “ambiguity” in the current one, according to sources.

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They said that the Army has recently written to all its commands seeking suggestions to be included in the new media policy.

The policy, made for the internal use of the service, is a classified document and the Special Army Order underlines the basic dos and don’ts of the military-media interaction. Army Rule 21 and paragraph 322 of the Defence Service Regulations (regulations for the Army) list the guidelines for such interactions.

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The current policy is seen as outdated, as it was first drafted in 2005, and since then, the media had not only expanded but also recast itself into new modes and platforms.

The existing media policy is a basic document that states that no Army interaction should reveal operational and classified details. It says that only Army commanders and above, the Additional Directorate General of Public Information (ADGPI), and personnel authorised by them can interact with the media, among other dos and don’ts.

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Army sources said the current policy does not include the growth in interactions on social media, which are major channels of information dissemination by the Army today. Sources said the policy is also fairly silent on interactions on the lower headquarters of the Army with the regional media, even on matters not relating to operations, such as training, administration and welfare measures. Media engagement on certain matters is decided on a case-by-case basis.

The massive proliferation of media in India since 2005 has brought forth new challenges for the Army, including implementing effective and coherent communication strategies during a hostile event, or soon after a crisis situation, which the outdated policy has not been able to address, sources said.

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