By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 16 June 2013:
The Prime Minister’s Media and Communications Department organized a workshop for the media departments of all . . .[restrict]its Ministries on “government media relations strategy” last Thursday 13th June.
The workshop was supervised by Amel Al-Jerary the head of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan’s Media and Communications Department and in cooperation with “an international team of experts” specialized in media communications.
The report on the NOC‘s website, did not mention the name of the international experts nor their nationality. However, Libya Herald reporters had noticed over the last couple of weeks the presence of these experts sitting in on Zeidan’s press conferences.
The Zeidan government has come in for much criticism for its lack of media savvyness and its inability to dominate the political media agenda.
For example, despite having 30 Ministers, Zeidan is still generally only able to produce one press conference per week. His media office neither produces a roundup of his weekly cabinet meetings nor his press conferences.
Moreover, Zeidan, unlike his predecessor Al-Kib, stubbornly refuses to appoint an official spokesperson. When last asked about this a few months ago at a press conference he said that he preferred to speak to the people personally and that he could not find a suitable person for the job.
However, in reality Zeidan avoids being fully transparent and accountable to the people by avoiding one-to-one media interviews and prefers to hide behind a one-question-per-media press conference, and limits this to 5 questions per press conference.
Equally, at times of crises and the need for critically accurate reporting, all the media departments in all the Ministries, including the Prime Minister’s media office, are unable to comment on breaking news in real time.
Ultimately, Zeidan does not seem to appreciate the important role of the media in modern day politics. He fails to understand that the media needs to fill-in its media output every single day, whether the government supplies it with information or not.
This is not the first group of international media consultants to offer help to the Zeidan government, as at the beginning of the year another group of consultants were helping for a few weeks.
It is hoped that this latest batch of international experts will help raise the quantity and quality of media output by the Zeidan government. However, Libya Herald understands that this group of consultants is also here for a short period of time.
The Zeidan government often says that it is doing preparatory work and laying foundations for future governments to build upon. It is therefore hoped that Zeidan will start to appreciate the importance of media communications in modern day politics and in the frequent crises situations that Libya finds itself in by putting in place long term foundations for successive governments.
The foundations of efficient and modern media departments at all of the Ministries starts with long term strategic training in the field for its personnel as opposed to piecemeal training being offered by different organisations. Good media comunications also requires media departments to be well manned with top quality and well paid personnel.