The channel that cries ‘freedom of expression’ at the drop of a hat has now issued a gag on the use of social media to all their employees. According to sources in the company, Times Television Network has issued a set of guidelines on the use of social media to all journalists employed in various channels including Times Now and ET Now. As per these new guidelines, journalists in the organisation are not even allowed to promote their own stories - unless the company’s official handle has already shared it.
A source in the Times Group’s Delhi office revealed that there is now a ban on retweeting content from anyone other than the “official social media channels and properties of Times Network and Times Group.”
Journalists should only retweet stories and opinion appearing on the official twitter handle/FB/ Other Social Media pages of the various channels and properties of TIMES NETWORK and TIMES GROUP
Even these retweets are supposed to cater only to their own stories or stories by their colleagues, the guidelines said.
Journalists should only retweet the official handle posts to publicise their stories or new information aligned to their stories/ features. Journalists must not use their private social media handles to promote or retweet their own story or those of colleagues unless the official handle/FB site has done so.
And apparently, the journalists at TTN have so much freedom of expression, that they’re not allowed to comment on any news about politics, crime or civic issues - unless the “official social media channels and properties of Times Network and Times Group” have reported it.
While the print publications of the Times Group already have some rules in place for their journalists - all Times of India reporters have a separate ‘official’ Twitter handle where they follow the guidelines set out by the company - this is the first such instance of a gag in the broadcast wing of the company.
According to the advisory, the guidelines - sent out by TTN's HR head Srivathsan - have been put in place to avoid retweets or reposts of ‘invective, unfounded fact, and slander’ against people in the news.