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भ्रष्टाचार के खिलाफ भारत समर्थक

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Direct marketing: Team Anna’s new media strategy

It’s a Sunday afternoon. Rajendra Bhavan, the auditorium near income tax office in Delhi, is packed. The man at the helm of affairs is someone who has made corruption a part of public discourse. “All of you have a pamphlet in your hands. Take ten minutes to read. Then one by one, you can throw at me your questions regarding the same,” says Arvind Kejriwal.

Sarkari Lokpal kaise dhokha hai? (How the government’s Lokpal is a deciet?), reads the heading of the four page pamphlet which elaborates on the anomalies in the government’s version of the anti- graft law.

The meeting is one in a series of gatherings Team Anna has been conducting since the tabling of Lokpal bill in parliament.

“Till now the volunteers and citizens have been receiving major chunk of information on the issue through the media. This is our attempt to reach out directly to the people,” said a member of India Against Corruption or IAC, of which Kejriwal is a member.

The gathering is then divided in eight zones. One person takes the responsibility of holding one weekly meeting or discussion group in his or her zone.

“Every Friday, we will upload new information on the website in the form of a video or pamphlet or blog. The volunteers can spread the same in their wards,” announces Kejriwal.

In case a volunteer is unable to answer a query, he or she can clarify the doubt by calling the helpline number or writing an email to IAC member.

Not banking on newspapers and news channels for the flow of information about the movement, the team will soon launch a call centre through which one can get correct facts about the Lokpal issue.

“The mainstream and social media has played a very critical role in this movement and we are very grateful to them for their support. Until now, the movement was completely dependent upon them to carry its messages to the people. They have been a great asset to this movement. However, they have their limitations. Firstly, the mainstream media does not carry the message in its entirety. Often, truncated “bytes” are shown. Sometimes, this creates confusion rather than promote the real facts. Secondly, people were unable to get answers to their questions as they did not have any direct communication with IAC. Thirdly, people were not able to send their suggestions/ideas directly to IAC,” reads the “What can you do?’ section on the IAC website.

At present, there is a pamphlet and a video under this section.

IAC is also working to establish an IVR (interactive voice response) system through which one can listen to the speeches and messages of Team Anna just by dialing a ten-digit number. Currently the IVR system is in trial stage.

From the very beginning of the Lokpal agitation, Team Anna has been aggressively using social media to reach out to netizens. Also, Anna Hazare had a blog which hosted his messages, which were written by an ex-journalist. After some initial enthusiasm the blog was abandoned.

Currently, members of the team are campaigning in Uttar Pradesh creating awareness about the need and importance of a strong anit-graft legislation. The team has toured Punjab and Uttarakhand before.

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