As part of a public awareness campaign, the Ministry of information & Broadcasting has set up a Facebook page (facebook.com/DigitalIndiaMIB), to address issues related to the process of digitalization, the deadline for which is 30th June 2012 for the 4 metros and 31st December 2014 for the rest of the country.  The Ministry has added some frequently asked questions and their answers related to digitalization under ‘Notes’, links to regulatory bodies and associations under Links, in addition to related pictures, and intends to interact with the public and other stake holders through the Wall at the Facebook page.

The Indian government had approved an ordinance in October 2011, phasing out analogue cable networks and make digitization of cable networks mandatory by 2014, on the recommendations of the TRAI. During the process, tv viewers who receive cable without conditional access or set top boxes will be required to switch to a digital platform.

It’s important that subscribers are made aware of the process, its implications and regulatory guidelines, so that they can make a wise decision. DTH operators and Multi System Cable providers, which are competing with each other, are already running awareness campaigns across different media. Associations such as the the News Broadcasters Association are also contributing. The Ministry’s decision to use social media looks interesting, but we’d like to see Ministry officials (or the agency made responsible for it), updating the page on a regular basis, and answering individual queries, if it wants to make it effective.

This is not the first time that a Government department has made use of social media for public participation and awareness. Earlier, the Planning Commission had set up a Facebook page, taking suggestions from citizens, on expenditure planning for the Twelfth plan. The government had also used Facebook and Twitter for creating awareness for Census 2011.

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