Good government communication must be seen as a ‘Force for Good’: British expert

SHARJAH, 28th March, 2018 (WAM) — Alex Aiken, Executive Director of Government Communications for the UK Government, told the audience at the 7th International Government Communication Forum (IGCF), that unless state messages are based on truth and facts, they will fail.

On the 100th anniversary of the British Ministry of Information, Aiken described the mistakes of past government communication, highlighting the false propaganda of German atrocities during the First World War. When the truths of World War II were relayed to the people, they were dismissed by the public on the grounds that they had been lied to once before and the element of trust had been lost, he pointed out.

“This is why all good government communication must be seen as a ‘Force for Good’ and a ‘Truth Well Told’,” he stressed speaking at the Sharjah forum.

“In a century of trial and error, we have learnt from our mistakes and continue to learn. There is a pride and professionalism within our staff and a desire to progress. We believe that every communication should be a campaign and to influence the audience for the good of the public.

“We must remember that communication is a science, not an art and we need facts, research and data to ensure our messages are truthful and accurate,”he added.

Addressing some of the challenges facing the government communication sector today, Aiken stressed that a new age of technology could be problematic as well as beneficial.

“We have created thousands of campaigns over 100 years and with every generation we have to rebuild and recreate our messaging. More than ever, governments must develop their ability to listen, respond at pace, manage trust and, of course, manage misinformation.”

Aiken stressed that an effective government communications team must itself be trusted as well as be effective.

IGCF, which is organised by the International Government Communications Centre and is being held at Expo Centre Sharjah, concludes on 29th .

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