Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Road Rules #1: Mixed Messages

Over the next few weeks I plan to write a few posts suggesting how the new AIE government may wish to handle issues arising during its term in office. First up: communicating with the media.

The recent publicity surrounding Mihai Ghimpu's statement that he is a unionist has brought to light the need for a communication protocol among the members of the alliance.

It is clear that the public wishes to know what politicians are really thinking, and in that respect they want to have access to the personal views of leading politicians. Mihai Ghimpu has won kudos for his sincerity, even among his political opponents.

It is also clear that each of the four parties needs to communicate a differentiated policy platform ahead of the next set of elections (which could be any time from January 2010 to 2013). The Democrat party will want to position itself on the centre-left and cement its relationship with Russophile voters, while the Liberals will want to maintain their traditional message of, well, liberalism.

As well as that, the AIE as a whole needs to communicate its policy positions, which are, after all, the decisions likely to be translated into law. These positions will impact on the lives of ordinary Moldovans for years to come.

What I would recommend is that, in media interviews, every AIE deputy should clearly state the capacity in which he or she is speaking, i.e. in accordance with either (1) personal views, (2) party policy or (3) the AIE's agreed programme of government. This will minimise the opportunity for pro-communist media to take statements out of context and twist them into something that sounds monstrous to a certain section of the electorate.

Another recommendation would be that the AIE forms a central policy office which would be taksed with producing agreed written policy positions. These positions would be a tremendous support for the politicians, enabling them to stay 'on message' and deflect the arrows being slung in their direction.

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