Massaging the Message
The Chhattisgarh government, not particularly reputed for being warmly disposed to journalists covering Bastar and the Maoist insurgency, is taking steps to manage the messaging better. Santosh K Misra, an IAS officer of the Tamil Nadu cadre, has been put in charge of public relations and tasked by the chief minister and the chief secretary to be the “messenger of bad news”. Instead of the usual diet of upbeat tidings dished out by such departments, the Chhattisgarh unit will highlight negative reports from the districts so that corrective action can be taken. This is meant to help the government react quickly to contain fallout over adverse coverage before getting picked up by national media.