The deputy minister of Information and Communications Do Quy Doan discussed the government’s new decision on providing information for the media in an interview with DTiNews.
Can you go into detail about the leader’s responsibilities in providing information for the media?
The newly-issued decision 25 assigned all the responsibilities to the head of an agency even when he or she gives authorisation to their subordinate to answer the media’s questions. This subordinate will, however, take responsibility when facing their leader.
Often in interviews, officials dodge questions or pass them on to another spokesperson though this spokesperson doesn’t understand the problem?
Personally, I think providing information for the press is a skill that needs to be developed and refined. However, it’s true that many officials have tried to avoid questions because they don’t understand the importance of providing information.
All the related regulations are mentioned in the Law on the Press, decision 25 only makes the individual responsibility clearer. Besides, we need cooperation from state officials and the press, who must be quick in delivering exact news to readers.
Do you think officials will stop avoiding questions after the issue of decision 25?
It depends on many factors but mostly on state official’s awareness of their responsibility. I think it’ll take a little time for information transparency. Actually, we are improving and being quicker in providing information. News about unrest in Central Highlands in 2004 only reached the public one week later, but in 2010, news about the firework explosion at My Dinh Stadium appeared three hours later.
Is it true that officials will be allowed to express their personal views to the press though they still might be bullied by their bosses?
The laws allow them to express their opinions and will protect them when they do so. Officials can say anything as individual opinion, but they are banned from disclosing classified information when they represent their agencies in an interview.
At the recent press conference with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the spokesperson refused to answer several questions, what do you think?
Agencies which show weak performances in their jobs as news providers will have to answer to the government. If people can’t find official information, they’ll seek their answers from another sources and this may result in public confusion.