By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The Office for the Government Spokesperson is officially set up, according to yesterday’s Chief Executive Dispatch.
A press conference will be held at 3pm tomorrow at the government headquarters, where the spokesperson and assistant spokesperson will be present to disclose more details of the system, proposed by Fernando Chui Sai On when he ran the electoral campaign in July last year.
According to the dispatch, “Maintaining good communications with civilians is one of the main policies of the government. In order to let the public, community organisations and mass media understand public information conveniently, and to enhance transparency in government, it is necessary to establish an appropriate mechanism so as to ensure effectiveness and objectivity of communications”.
The Office is a kind of a special project and its operation may be renewed after two years.
The Office is responsible to “outline the government’s information strategies and also to coordinate and organise their implementation; ensure government communications in a unified, effective and integrated manner; as well as to facilitate the relationships between the government and the media/civilians targeting at government policies, measures and works”.
The Office is directly under the Chief Executive and will operate based on his guidance. All activities carried out must have to be coordinated with the Government Information Bureau (GCS).
The dispatch also says all public departments and entities must have to cooperate with the Office.
On the sidelines of the media Spring lunch hosted by the Legislative Assembly yesterday, GCS director Victor Chan Chi Ping did not confirm whether or not he is named the assistant government spokesperson, adding that the formal appointment will be announced by the Chief Executive very soon.
Chan told reporters the current operation of GCS will not be changed significantly but be reinforced further.
“The establishment of the entire spokesperson system relies greatly on the training of professional personnel who will help the media obtain information. This is not easy because Macau did not have such kind of system or personnel before the establishment of the SAR,” he said.
“GCS has been providing support for the internal training and building the entire structure,” he added.
After the promulgation of the spokesperson regulation, the GCS chief said their work will see a “closer tie” with the public departments and news can be released “more smoothly based on the formal standards”.
According to Chan, every department will have its specific personnel to make contacts with the media.
“They will certainly be the first ones to know the latest information from their departments. It’s more convenient for journalists if they want to contact an official from a certain department,” he said.
“GCS is to coordinate and back up the operation behind the scene,” he pointed out.
He said, for example, the bureau is looking into the feasibility of releasing information through mobile phones and also providing multimedia information besides press releases due to the development of the media industry.
Chan also said that the spokesperson system will see an increase in officers, but it won’t be a big number.
“The personnel responsible for media contacts can be from within the department, as these people must have to be very familiar with the internal operation in order to provide the largest support to the media,” he said.