The common practice of local authorities demanding of their staff that they desist from speaking to the media has taken a potentially sinister twist, according to a report in The Oban Times newspaper.
Says the paper, staff were reminded of their responsibilities in a letter appearing in their wage packet, “in a week where many were told they may be in line to lose their jobs”.
The weekly – out today – quotes from the letter, titled ‘Dealing with the Press’: “If you are asked a question by a reporter that is not a simple fact, you should ALWAYS direct the journalist to the communications team.”
The paper also quotes a local councillor, Roddie McCuish: “The timing of this instruction could not have come at a worse time for the work force of Argyll and Bute. Already they are facing uncertainty and morale is at and all-time low.”
Jo Smith, communications manager at Argyll and Bute Council is further quoted, saying: “The council’s communications team is the first point of contact for media enquiries. Employees are advised they should direct all media queries to the communications team, leaving them free to carry on with their normal work.”