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Old Saturday, November 22, 2014
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Default Basic Information About Information Group

INFORMATION GROUP, like other occupational groups is part of Central Superior Services and plays a pivotal role in national image building within and abroad, informing and educating the masses and advancing democratic values.
BACKGROUND
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting was setup in August 15, 1947 and it started posting officers in Pakistani Missions abroad by 1950s. The creation of Central Information Service (CIS) was approved by the President in 1964 and was renamed as Information Service of Pakistan (ISP) in 1968 and the recruitment of the officers were made through CSS. The ISP was renamed as “Information Group” with an increased cadre strength of 208 posts under the Administrative Reforms of 1973.
At the time of Independence Radio and Print were the two major forms of media but with the growth of national level media that took place in the late 70’s and 80’s and then in 2000 and with the advancement in technology certain structural changes were introduced in the Information ministry. In addition to the Traditional State institutions that were PID, External Publicity and Directorate of Film and Publications other media departments like DEMP, Cyber Wing and PEMRA were created. Currently, the Information and Broadcasting wing includes the Press Information Department (PID), Directorate of Electronic Media and Publications (DEMP), Internal and External Publicity Wing, Cyber Wing, Pakistan Television Corporation, Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, Associated Press of Pakistan, Central Board of Film Censors, Shalimar Recording & Broadcasting company, Institute of Regional Studies, Press Council of Pakistan, National Press Trust, Implementation Tribunal for Newspaper Employees, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority ( PEMRA) and Pakistan Peace Council.
HERITAGE WING
After the 18th Amendment Ministry of Culture was also placed under the Information Ministry. Its organization includes;
Lok Versa, Pakistan National Council of Arts, Department of Archaeology & Museums, Quaid-e-Azam Papers Wing, Quaid-e-Azam Academy, Quaid-e-Azam mazar management board, Aiwan-e-Quaid, Nazriya Pakistan Council, Pakistan Academy of Letters, National Language Promotion Department, Urdu Dictionary Board, Urdu Science Board, Aiwan-Iqbal and Iqbal Academy.

POSTINGS
The Information group officers serve in power corridor and are usually posted as PRO, Press Secretary, and Media Manager to Federal Ministers (Ministries) etc. There are different types of postings which is given to an Information group officer. Initially most of the IG officers are posted in Press Information Department (PID) as Information Officers. Some IG officers are posted in external publicity wing, some in internal publicity wing, some in Pakistan Broadcasting Company (PBC), some in Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), some in Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) & PTV on deputation. In BPS-18 IG officers get chance to be posted as Press attaches', press counselors or press ministers in some major embassies and missions of Pakistan abroad. In BS-18, the officer can be posted on 7 stations, I-e Ankara, Beijing, Cairo, Colombo, Hong Kong, New Delhi and Washington as Press Attaché. In BS-19, the officer can be transferred to these 13 stations i.e. Berlin, Brussels, Dhaka, Dubai, Jeddah, Kabul, Moscow, New York, Ottawa, Paris, Singapore, Tehran and Tokyo as Press Counselor. In BS-20, the officer can be posted to these 3 stations i.e. London, New Delhi and Washington as Minister Press. These jobs are the most lucrative jobs in Information Group.
These officers project the image of Pakistan and counter the anti-Pakistan propaganda. The Information Group officers are also posted in corporations and other federal government departments on deputation. The officers can be also posted internally on deputation to PEMRA and PTV where the salaries are very high.
OBJECTIVES
The main objectives of the Information Group include promotion of National Harmony, formulation of policies regarding media and heritage, creating awareness among people on issues of national importance, creating liaison with both national and international media and preparing guidelines regarding government advertisement. Other objectives include Production of documentary films, Development of newspaper industry and External Publicity.
FUNCTIONS
The main functions of the Information group include the image building of the Federal Government, projecting plans and ongoing policies of the federal ministries, drafting and implementing policies, laws, rules and regulatory framework related to media and heritage. It also provides regular feedback and analysis on policy initiatives, issue press releases, rejoinders and rebuttals.
It also monitors news trends in print, electronic and social media, issue newspapers’ circulation certificates, produce audio-video material and documentaries and also magazines and periodicals for promotion of government policies. It arranges exhibitions, seminars and workshops on media and heritage and promote cultural heritage by organizing Lok Melas, cultural performances at home and abroad.
CHALLENGES
Today, the Information Group is presented with various challenges that it has to face like there is mushroom growth of media during last decade i.e. print, electronic and social media has transformed media in to a full fledge industry but the Information ministry has not kept pace with the growth of the Industry. Secondly, the cultural heritage of the country needs to be projected in its true colors.
Thirdly, Dying art and craft work along with gradually fading away of musical families require foremost attention and patronage. Fourthly, Documentary making needs to be promoted. Fifthly, budgetary constraints for both media and heritage is also a challenge. Last but not the least, Policy formulation and implementation of code of conduct and ethics for media is also a challenge.
SKILLS REQUIRED
The probationers who will be joining the Information group must have the following skills in order to flourish. Firstly, they must have a good understanding of the issues and psychology of the target audience/Public. Secondly, they must be articulate and should have good communication skills. Thirdly, they must develop a keen interest in reading and the capacity to prepare talking points on issues. Fourthly, they must develop the expertise to contextualize the situation, develop a narrative, and give it direction and language. Lastly, they must be well versed in IT.
PERKS & PRIVILIGES
There are no designated vehicle in BPS 17, but as Information Officers remain too close to the federal ministers so in most of the cases they are able to get vehicle and house allotted out of the way. Remember while being in Islamabad getting a house allotted is one of the most difficult tasks and there is no designated vehicle in Islamabad for ANY BPS-17 post of ANY group except DMG and PSP officers.




WHAT INFORMATION GROUP OFFERS
Information group is a very specialized and good group with great promotional prospects and it has got an excellent future ahead of it because of its closeness to the Media.
It is a group which provides ample opportunities for personality grooming and polishing.
It is a group where you can establish a good PR with media personnel, Journalists and people at imminent positions not only in Pakistan but also abroad.
After foreign services, it’s the 2nd group that provides you opportunity to see the world through abroad postings which starts from grade 18.
It provides great opportunities for people who don’t like the boring file work and want to enjoy life as there are more functions, interaction with foreign delegations and media persons. The life in information group is enjoyable as stated by Royedad khan, PAS officer in his book, “Pakistan-A dream gone sour” that, “the posting which he enjoyed the most was his posting in Information Group on deputation and termed it as a life time experience.
No group is better or worse, it depends on the personality of the officer and his diligence and determination to excel.
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