After being at the centre of several controversies recently, the India Today Group (ITG) has reportedly issued an interim social media advisory gagging their journalists from sharing any personal political views on any social media platform. The interim social media advisory, as shared by independent journalist Deepika Narayan Bharadwaj on Twitter, subjects any person associated with the ITG as full time, part-time, consultant, retainer or third party to the guidelines laid down in the advisory. The guidelines will be applicable with immediate effect and will be effective for two months.
The advisory says that those having any contracts with the India Today Group can use their personal handles only for posting the content or promotion belonging to the Group that has been used in print, digital or on air. It further says that such persons cannot even reply or retweet to any post even if they have been tagged in it. They can respond to the post only with the content of the ITG.
The advisory says that a breach of the guidelines will invite disciplinary action, including termination. Though the guidelines apparently impose a complete prohibition on posting any personal comment on social media from personal accounts of any person having any contract with the India Today Group, ironically the advisory claims that this is not a breach of the freedom of expression and the press. The advisory says that the guidelines have been issued to “maintain high standards of journalism” and to “focus on doing solid stories and curating strong content” while avoiding any needles controversy on social media.
India Today’s name had recently emerged in the TRP scam and an FIR was also registered with the Mumbai police having India Today’s name in it.