Friday, October 26, 2012

B.S. in Communications

In the wake of the controversy over his ill-advised email to the Head of News for CCN, Communications Minister Jamal Mohammed has issued an apology:

For what it's worth, he's also declared himself to be the best friend of the media and reaffirmed the government's willingness to die for media freedom.

I sure wish someone would tell him that, while hari kari isn't necessary, a healthy respect for the fourth estate is.

Given the number of government missteps since May 2010, swift backpedaling is all par for the course, but what's irking me about his 'apology' is this:
Questioned further on the view that he cannot send personal e-mails to media members while holding the position of Communications Minister, he responded: "I realise that now, I learnt that lesson today and if I've caused any discomfort to anyone I humbly apologise.
 Are we to believe he didn't know that - as the government's Communications Minister - any communication with the media about the government is - by default - official business?

Did he think that, by referring to himself as  "an insignificant, Muslim coolie from San Juan", he would have officially doffed his mantle for a moment to express his view as a citizen? Directly to the head of news?

Because that's how we normal citizens express our views. I know when I'm disgruntled, I give Dom (that's what I call him, you know ... Dom) a call on his cell and advise him on the best way to get the media house back on track.

Same thing with the police. When they're acting up, holding roadblocks at rush hour and demanding that I pull over when I'm clearly on my way to work, I just give Steve (that's acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams to you) a call and sort it all out.



Just stumbled across this Guardian article and I'm reveling in the juxtaposition of Mohammed's declarations against Dennis McComie's complete disregard for the job that the media has to do:
McComie then came over to television reporters, saying he had to “organise protocol with you gentlemen” and everyone needed to understand the protocol. He had an exchange with Nanton about whether the session had already been brought to an end and whether Nanton’s questions were relevant.
McComie said reporters “kept taking the microphone again” and he hoped there was a recording of it, “as we really want you all to be  professional.” Nanton protested that he had been posing professional questions and there was nothing irrelevant about what was being asked. McComie said: “Thank you very much” and then left.
Minutes after, in the hall outside the media conference room  McComie also had words for radio station operator Robert Amar. He repeated the same advice to Amar, saying reporters needed to abide by the protocol which had been established for posing questions at the media conferences but were not doing so.
This government is painfully tone-deaf.

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