[EDITORIALS]Getting the message outThere has been long-running criticism that the office of the senior presidential secretary for public information and the Government Information Agency do not function properly. They are in charge of public relations on the national level, but they have been making statements that are aloof from the will of the people, widening the gap between the president and the people.
The Grand National Party presented a bill to abolish the information agency yesterday. The party is not so foolish as to present a bill that goes against the people’s will. The primary responsibility for creating such an atmosphere rests with the public information team of the present government.
Let’s recall their recent remarks and behavior. They attribute the confusion in state affairs to the news media without exception. In the presence of the president, the director of the Government Information Agency criticized the press: “The press has evaded the point and made the justice minister’s letter on the right to command the prosecution as the cause of conflict. And it has distorted the government’s policies on social issues such as real estate or taxes.”
The senior secretary for public information has complained, “The press environment of the participatory government is too coarse.” It is well-known that the president is dissatisfied with some of the media outlets. We wonder whether the officials made such remarks to display their loyalty to the president or to keep their posts by attributing their mistakes to the faults of the media.
It is natural for the senior press secretary’s office and the information agency to promote the policies of the president and the government. The problem lies in their failure to provide proper public relations for such policies. Instead they engage in overheated propaganda for the regime and its ideology, or cater to the taste of the president.
We were amazed to learn that the chairman of the Civil Service Commission and the administrator of the Cultural Properties Administration were investigated and required to submit a written explanation of why they submitted contributions to or accepted interview offers from a certain newspaper. This has naturally led to criticism even within the governing party. They must know clearly that the current public information team has contributed to making the president’s approval rating hover near bottom. Public relations is different from propaganda or agitation. Persuading the opposition and letting them understand is the job of the government information service.