THE SPIN DOCTORS' CHILLING MEMO
'The media industry’s struggle to cope with a declining business model offers the opportunity for government to produce more “direct-to-consumer” creative content... The opportunity is not so much about government pushing native content, rather about creating fully-fledged media production teams, sensitive to the nuances of each channel and audience'
From Modern Communications Operating Model, published by the Government Communication service
The Mail has also obtained a ‘chilling’ Government document which reveals how officials plan cynically to take advantage of ‘the media industry’s struggle to cope with a declining business model’ by churning out propaganda.
The memo, produced by the GCS and shared among officials this week, says Whitehall departments should ‘produce more “direct-to-consumer” creative content’ – which is code for writing and promoting their own news articles. It adds: ‘The opportunity is not so much about government pushing native content, rather about GCS creating fully-fledged media production teams, sensitive to the nuances of each channel and audience.’
One Whitehall whistle-blower described the document as ‘outrageous’. The source said: ‘The language is chilling. It’s like something from East Germany where the state wants to control the message and everything the public reads.’
Another insider said the Government appeared to be trying to create a modern Pravda – the official newspaper of the Soviet Union.
The figures were unearthed by Press Gazette, the journalism website which is campaigning to protect the 15-year-old law.
According to Ministry of Justice figures, between July 2014 and June 2015, the 21 UK departments of state dealt with 30,616 ‘non-routine information requests’. The latest Ministry of Justice estimate on the cost of the average FOI response to a central Government department was £184. This would give a total bill of £5.6million.
By comparison, the Government Communication Service’s estimated spending in 2014/15 was £289million, according to its own strategy documents.
Dominic Ponsford, the editor of Press Gazette, told the Mail: ‘Public authorities claim answering Freedom of Information requests has become a financial “burden”. But the cost of answering FOI requests is tiny compared with the resources spent on spin and marketing by the Government.
‘That is why it is so important that the Government is not allowed to weaken the FOI Act and reduce the public’s ability to get straight answers and access to information which we have all already paid for through our taxes.’How Whitehall spends £289million of YOUR cash on propaganda and marketing... but just £5.6million of freedom law it now claims is 'too expensive'http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3318008/How-Whitehall-spends-289million-cash-propaganda-marketing-just-5-6million-freedom-law-claims-expensive.html