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Media protocols: whole-of-government

It is important to have a whole-of-Government approach to dealing with media issues. The Government Communications Office (GCO) is the central contact point for the majority of media inquiries to Government. Therefore, it is crucial for the GCO to be informed of media issues, whether they be initiated by Government agencies and instrumentalities or the media themselves.

These media protocols are intended to ensure the information flow achieves the best possible outcomes in terms of communicating the Government's position.

Aim of protocols

To ensure media/public relations and marketing units across agencies inform the Government Communications Office of media inquiries, as well as media issues prior to them reaching the public arena.

To ensure that press releases generated in agencies are distributed to the media via, or with the prior knowledge of, the Government Communications Office.

To develop a process that avoids planned events and launches clashing with each other.

Protocols

All media inquiries should be directed to the relevant advisor in the Government Communications Office. Media advisors' portfolio responsibilities and contact numbers have been distributed to all media, public relations and marketing units across government.

The media advisor, on most occasions, will make initial contact with the relevant Minister's Office seeking a response to media inquiries. In some circumstances, agency staff may be asked by the GCO to make the initial contact.

The Minister's Office will either respond to the inquiry or seek the information requested from the relevant agency.

Agencies will supply the relevant information either verbally or in draft release form to the Government Communications Office through their respective Minister's Office, or directly if the Minister's Office so approves.

Media advisers can, with the approval of Ministers' Offices, contact agency personnel directly to clarify information that has been provided.

Media advisors can, with the approval of Ministers' Offices, ask agency personnel to liaise with the media on non-political issues.

Agencies will advise the Government Communications Office of forthcoming public events to enable a forward media program to be developed. These will include media launches, forums and events involving Ministers and senior agency staff.

Press releases generated by agency media, public relations and marketing units should be distributed via the Government Communications Office unless other arrangements have been agreed to.

Copies of press releases generated by Government businesses and authorities such as Forestry Tasmania, Aurora Energy and Racing Tasmania should be sent to the Government Communications Office on release. The Government Communications Office, with the approval of the respective Minister's Office, should be advised prior to any release from Government businesses and authorities that has the potential to impact on the community from a political or financial perspective.