Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Government Media Offices...

As a journalist works in Iraq, I do believe that the first thing the Iraqi statesman must do when he takes office is to set up a very professional media office by carefully picking up a spokesman who can actively get in touch with all media outlets who deal with the Iraqi story.

And through this spokesman, the governmental institution must get a very clear and rich Web Site where all the needed information (of course those are allowed to be published) are available for everyone such as press releases, reports, contacts to officials and so on.

And also, a weekly briefings must be held to help media outlets follow up with their achievements and future plans.

In my modest seven-year old experience in journalism with international media outlets, some of those Iraqi spokesmen and their offices are very very cooperative, try hard to keep media outlets updated with all their activities and spare no efforts to help them.

While others have become professionals in how keeping journalists in turmoil when they need anything: they rarely answer their phones and never call back later and their common pretext is " I'm in a meeting" or "I was busy with meetings".

An example for that, NO OFFENCE HERE, is the Oil Ministry Spokesman Mr. Assem Jihad who rarely helps journalists with Iraq's oil developments which I believe its the most important story now in Iraq.

I do believe that amid the huge oil developments in Iraq, Iraqi Oil Ministry must hold such weekly briefings to speak about, for examples, negotiations with majors to develop oil fields and other future plans.

Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani only appears before media when he leaves Iraq to take part in conferences and never invites journalists to his ministry.

I call on everybody not to be sensitive with this but I do believe that these spokesmen and media offices are the real forefront of their institutions.

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