MEA"s Public Diplomacy Division gets coveted Social Media Award

New Delhi, Mar.11 (ANI): The Public Diplomacy division of the Ministry of External Affairs was awarded the prestigious Gov2.in Awards 2011 instituted by Governance Now magazine for innovative use of social media and Web 2.0 tools in government.

Other recipients were the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), Delhi Traffic Police(DTP), India Post, Census India 2011 and Planning Commission 12th Plan.

The event was held at Hotel Le Meridien here on Friday evening.

Initiated by Governance Now magazine in 2011, the Gov2.in Awards aim to recognize pioneers in the use of social media tools for creating interactive platforms to improve citizen service delivery in government organizations.

The awards also seek to promote the use of social media by government.

The Gov2.0 Forum, launched by Governance Now magazine on March 11, seeks to highlight issues related to governance and public policy.

The forum was inaugurated by the Minister of Human Resource Development, Information Technology and Communications, Kapil Sibal, this morning.

Speaking on the occasion, Sibal said: "Social media platforms are transformational and should be used to facilitate governance. Although some time is needed for teledensity to improve in rural areas, eventually the mobile revolution will power Gov 2.0 there."

Speaking at a panel discussion in the morning session, Public Diplomacy Division Joint Secretary Navdeep Suri said: "The Public Diplomacy division is using social media to communicate more effectively with diverse constituencies, to receive feedback in a way that makes the Ministry of External Affairs more responsive to citizen concerns and to build global communities of friends of India. Effective use of Twitter during the evacuation of our nationals from Libya by Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and by PD division has received an extremely positive response." he Public Diplomacy division seeks to engage citizens and global audiences more effectively on issues related to foreign policy and to advance India"s conversations with the world.

Since July 2010, the division has launched a series of digital diplomacy initiatives that have made it one of the first Government of India organisations to tap into the potential offered by social media and Web 2.0 tools.

These include:

A Twitter page (www.twitter.com/indiandiplomacy) that has already acquired close to 7000 followers and provides regular information and updates on foreign policy issues and was a major channel of communication during the recent evacuation of Indian nationals from Libya

A YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/indiandiplomacy) that hosts more than 50 documentary films on various subject and has recieved over 19000 hits eparate Facebook communities for

IndianDiplomacy(www.facebook.com/indiandiplomacy) that flag upcoming events and shares information on a range of foreign policy related issues, Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) (www.facebook.com/ITECNetwork) and India Perspectives magazine (www.facebook.com/IndiaPerspectives)

A blogspot account (www.indiandiplomacy.blogspot.com) that provides a platform for discussing issues raised in the popular MEA Distinguished Lecture Series on India"s foreign policy

Accounts on online publishing sites like Issuu and Scribd to make the ministry"s flagship India Perspectives magazine accessible to the online community

A new website (www.indiandiplomacy.in) that, inter alia, seeks to build a positive narrative about India in terms of its development partnerships with various countries, about the reach and impact of India"s soft power and about activities of India"s diplomatic missions.

The Gov2.in award was received by Abhay Kumar, Under Secretary, Public Diplomacy Division, MEA. (ANI)