Gov't spokespersons don't like to speak: press official

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Spokespersons of government agencies are mostly incompetent and do not understand their job very well, a senior press official said at a conference held in Da Nang on Saturday.

They tend to avoid giving any information to the public, particuarly the press, and hence fail in their most basic task, he said.

Many spokespersons do not quite understand the ways of journalism and thus tend to be confused, hesitant, and avoid supplying information, said Hoang Huu Luong, head of the Press Authority at the Ministry of Information and Communication.

He was speaking at the conference in the central city to review five years of implementing a government decision to enhance cooperation between spokespersons and the media.

"Many spokespersons have caused difficulties by only agreeing to give answers if the reporters meet three requirements the reporter's card, an introduction letter from their agencies, and a written appointment," Luong said in a Tuoi Tre report.

"Besides, some offices demand the questions to be sent over in advance. And some of then do not respond after receiving the questions."

Luong said a number of local government offices were unwilling to share information on any issue that they dealt with, including economic development plans or local lifestyles.

The hesitation was even more pronounced when it came to information directly relationg to specific corruption cases, he said.

Several editors-in-chief at the conference said many offices do not publish the names and contacts of their spokespersons, making it difficult for reporters.

Many spokespersons suffer high pressure from their bosses, and thus are always scared of giving any information, they said.

Vice minister Do Quy Doan said his ministry is going to make several proposals to the government concerning these issues, including specific punishments for uncooperative agencies, those that refuse to provide information to the press or only give "one-way information" beneficial to themselves.

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