Monday, May 23, 2022 | Shawwal 21, 1443 H
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Call for transparency, credibility -

A popular Arabic saying ‘The costly news of today will be free tomorrow,’ is true to some extent. This only means that if you are not quick to respond, the establishment’s reputation will be under threat.

During the recent years, many people called upon the government to assign an official spokesperson who can respond to the public and deal with them. They expected the spokesperson to have transparency and credibility while responding to various questions and suggestions raised by the media and the community.

However, some of the public requested a consistent speaker whose main role was to answer topics while others asked for diversity among the speakers.

The main objective of the public request is to have credible clarification and to stay away from defensive responses. Also it is best not to leave room for doubt because unclarified responses can cause general frustration towards the decision and will be difficult to treat.

Recently we witnessed great interest on the part of the government although this often has some shortcomings. This development is evident through the news and explanatory statements being issued.

Many cases show that the diversity in speakers has more successes. For example, the Supreme Committee for the Management of Covid-19, was concerned that information reaches the recipient through the representative of the competent establishments. If the topic is related to banks the committee invites representatives from the Central Bank, and the same applies to commerce, municipalities and ROP.

Another case in point was when the Shaheen Cyclone hit the Sultanate of Oman during which was an important model towards communicating with the people. We listened to specialists from various sectors. These processes helped to deliver important messages, whether technical information, which includes infrastructure or meteorology and other sectors.

Recently, during the press conference for the state general budget, we saw officials from various institutions related to the subject respond to queries. The bottom line is that the speaker must be familiar with all the information. He or she should be trained to deal with the audience and respond to questions with the power of influence and persuasion to deliver the details.

On the other hand, the spokesperson is the one who negotiates with decision-makers about some decisions and expresses his point of view, especially if the decisions affect the relationship between the institution and the media or the public.

Previous examples lead us to prefer to have diversity in the spokesperson to get accurate and detailed information and away from constructional expression. The popular saying “Give your dough to the baker even if he will eat half of your bread,” is apt in this case.

The corporate communication departments in different establishments along with their top management's play a pivotal role in communicating with the public and with various media.

Each establishment, through the media department, can communicate the claims to the relevant departments or nominate the concerned person to respond to the media. The corporate media practitioners are requested to be more credible in dealing with the media, respect public’s opinion and their demands and believe in the strength of public opinion, so they can deliver explanatory and transparent information.

The competent authorities should also facilitate access to information by reducing the centralisation of information and working to spread a culture that information is not only available on the desks of the highest official, but is also with relevant departments. For example, why are the offices of governors and governors not activated - I meant to say that the office and not the head of the office - so that these offices are trusted by citizens regarding development and projects in the governorate.

When I, as a citizen, visit the office of the governor or the wali, I am certain to obtain correct information relating to the infrastructure projects of my wilayat. However, a common sight seen is that there is no confidence regarding this and that one can find several citizens wearing their khanjar and moving around to meet the minister or the undersecretary. The main idea behind that is you can find the correct information with the top management.

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