Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Official government spokespeople

It's been announced that all government ministries and departments will have official spokespeople to 'ease access to information for journalists'.

The idea's good but as usual the success or otherwise will depend on the people involved and the way it's implemented.

There's long been a problem that we get information from an 'official' one day only for it to be contradicted by another 'official' the next. A classic has been the ID fiasco, with a whole raft of different announcements being made over a period of weeks, causing utter confusion.

This new move could solve that problem, but only if the spokespeople are given the full facts in the first place and if they explain them in clear unambiguous language. There's also an onus on journalists to know the questions to ask, and be willing to ask them, to get absolutely clear information. That hasn't been the case so far so I'm not hopeful.

Still, it's a move in the right direction.

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