Eric May – Media Consultant
  

 

 

 

People who work for international institutions and development agencies know all about government and institutional pressure.

In other words, when expressing ideas to the public, the news media or to their partners and stakeholders, there’s pressure to say what you “think” you should say, rather that what you really want to say.

- There is pressure not to tell “the whole truth”
- There is pressure to speak “diplomatically” rather than directly
- There is a perception that initiatives can be jeopardized if problems are raised openly.

Pressure from governments (and from inside our own institutions is real. But international institutions also have an obligation to say what is going on. There must be a balance. 

Do international institutions err too often on the side of caution? When does caution cross the line into self-censorship?

Test yourself:

- Ask yourself a difficult question you feel is sure to bring government pressure or criticism from within your own institution.

- First, answer the question as you think you “should” answer it.

- Then, answer it again, as you would like to answer it.

- Compare the results for credibility, commitment, believability, passion, and human emotion.

In terms of content, ask yourself: are the two answers really so different?