One thing that RSS should change immediately
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has always been a soft target of liberal media, which has probably forgotten investigative journalism a long back and only believes in sensationalizing trivial and at times fake news.
Time and again, there have been several instances, the most recent one highlighting how an RSS affiliated organization has issued guidelines to produce “designer and fair” babies.
This news was covered prominently across multiple news channels and digital platforms. A lot of reactions were taken from pseudo secular and pseudo liberal politicians and a self-hypothesized verdict was issued against RSS by biased journalists. A brainwashed army of liberals ensured that no stone is left unturned in broadcasting this news on WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter.
This is a classic example of “Illusion of Truth”. Many psychologists have conducted experiments on this theory and conclusive evidences have been drawn to prove that if you tell a lie and repeat it again, and again, and again; then it will seem true to a human mind. Some sections of media are simply using this phenomenon against RSS.
A good habit of the TRUTH
Although it was posted in a different context, but would always be applicable on anything we can think of. So it happened, one of the OpIndia contributors Rohit Agarwal wasted no time in exposing the media lies in an article, How fake news about ‘RSS-linked org promising fair babies’ was invented by media. Further, this article also clarifies that the controversial Garbh Sanskar workshop was focused on “Healthy” child and not on “tall and fair” babies as claimed in the media headlines.
Subsequently, a counter view was published on Alt News: The link between Arogya Bharati, that promises genius babies, and the RSS that OpIndia couldn’t find. This article focused on establishing linkages between Arogya Bharati and RSS by quoting multiple tweets, screenshots and snaps of a few people who are probably associated with both these organizations.
At this point, I am not trying to prove or disprove the linkages between RSS and Arogya Bharti. However, the Alt News article failed to clarify the real purpose of Garbh Sanskar workshop.
After the media buzz, the West Bangal Commission for Protection of Child Rights filed a PIL in High Court to ban the Garbh Sanskar workshop. The Hon. High Court then validated the truth (i.e. this workshop is not for tall and fair babies, rather aimed at healthy babies) and termed the PIL as “misleading”. Further, the Court also questioned why such an article was published by The Times of India. A press release available on Arogya Bharti’s website highlights the relevant comments from this judgement.
Unfortunately, as always, none of those news channels and digital platforms has published the truth yet, forget about issuing an apology. Moreover, the social media army of liberals, who made the earlier fake news popular on various platforms, is conveniently ignoring the truth, obviously because it is against their childhood perception of RSS.
How RSS generally communicates and responds:
At times, RSS philosophers and believers join the news debates to counter such false propaganda and reveal the correct perspective. However, as it mostly happens, the news anchors prepare the conclusion even before the debate drama begins and they reserve the right to consider or ignore the views of panelists.
As far as information dissemination is concerned, the RSS some times issues press releases on its websites. The RSS has a twitter handle @RSSorg which was set up in June 2011 and since then it has posted 565 tweets (yes, this is only five hundred and sixty five tweets till 15th May 2017). It also has a Facebook page but very few updates and announcements are posted on it. In nutshell, the digital communication mechanism of RSS has not been designed to address any burning issues in the mainstream media.
What RSS should do?
Today, the digital savvy organizations design integrated (multi-channel) communication strategy, set-up social media command centers, build big data and analytics capabilities, and enable a real-time response mechanism to counter any threats to their brand image.
The RSS does not really need very sophisticated tools and a big team of digital marketing experts. It can start with simple things such as keeping a track of negative and fake news and quickly disseminating the truth through WhatsApp message and Facebook & Twitter posts. The power of internet will do the rest!
For instance, in relation to Arogya Bharti controversy, the RSS could have at least issued a quick clarification to expose the media lies.
If RSS is able to overhaul its communication, then the same can be used to spread tons of good stories about their social services. For example, there are numerous cases of less-publicized disaster relief work (J&K floods, Bihar floods, Chennai floods, Gujarat floods, Andhra and North Karnataka floods, etc. – the list is very long) and social service activities by RSS among backward, underprivileged and tribal sections of society across the country. How about sharing some good pictures and stories of people befitted through such activities or writing about the self-less contribution from its Sevaks?
As Mark Twain said “Progressive improvement beats delayed perfection”! So the RSS must start immediately before another media propaganda goes on air.
Jinesh Jain is a Management Consultant based in Mumbai. He holds diverse interests across Politics, Sports and Business. He sometimes tweets at @jineshkrjain