The Times of India, India’s largest English newspaper, has asked all of its journalists to either hand over the passwords to their personal Facebook, Google+ and Twitter accounts to the company or to refrain from posting any news on their personal social media accounts. The strange rule has been added to a new employment contract shared with the employees of TOI and its sister concerns (which include Femina and Filmfare) last week, and a copy of which has been procured by Quartz India.
According to the contract, any employee working in an editorial capacity in any of the Times Group properties, will have to use a ‘company-authorised’ social media account or can convert their existing social media accounts to one that’s company authorised. To do so, employees have been asked to hand over all their login credentials to even personal accounts and the company will be free to post anything through those accounts without even informing the employee. According to Quartz India, even if an employee agrees not to post any ‘newsworthy’ links on his/her personal social media accounts, he/she will still have to reveal all the personal social media services that they use.
Possibly the strangest inclusion in the Times Group’s new employment contract is that even if an employee leaves the company, it will be free to post links and stories through that employee’s social media accounts. Quartz India claims that the Times Group has asked its employees to sign the new employment contract immediately.
If the documents in Quartz India’s possession are authentic, then the implications are nothing to laugh about. There’s no denying the fact that social media has become an integral tool in any journalist and/or media professional’s arsenal. In fact, in this age of 24x7 news and dozens of cookie cutter news anchors and reporters around, the smarter ones try to develop a personal connect with their audience with the help of social media. By attempting to control the way journalists talk to the audience and exploit it, because, forgive my opinionated interjection here, but this appears to be exactly that, the TOI management will only lessen the already meagre amount of trust between the media and the audience at large.
Source: Quartz India