Photo of Le Mauricien 05/06/2006
The Mauritian population was given the opportunity to watch the Prime Minister’s Press Conference on television on Saturday… or should I say that they were forced to… All three local television channels of the MBC were broadcasting the conference at exactly the same time after the 7.30 p.m. news bulletin!
For those who do not have access to private channels via pay TV or satellite subscriptions, there was indeed no other choice (except that of switching off their TV set of course!)
It could be argued that this was a very important ‘moment’ and that every Mauritian citizen had the duty to listen to the PM as he gave strong indications regarding drastic decisions for our economy. And, indeed personally, I think it was important that we listen to him and his Finance Minister on the eve of budget presentation (scheduled for this Friday). Yet, simultaneous airing on the only three local channels available, that may have been a bit too much…
But to come back to the press conference, the PM did a great PR job. Of course, his Finance Minister Rama Sithanen had already tested the ground with his proposals for salary compensations which had also been aired on TV. Sithanen was great at explaining clearly the reasons why. He was also very convincing on the necessity of being more disciplined, more efficient and more productive…
The PM thus took advantage of this positive reception by the media and the population at large to announce some ‘courageous’ decisions, like closing down the DWC. But he also performed some of the age-old political antics so cherished by our local politicians, i.e. the ‘put-the-blame-on-him’ song. Mind you, the other parties did it too when they were in power…
As for the journalists, they were quite ‘soft’ and ‘nice’ to the PM. They still lack that sharpness that would allow them to put the right questions to the decision-makers, questions that would really open up worthwhile debates.
For instance, no-one dared point out to the apparent contradiction between the austerity being advocated and the fact that old age pensions had been fully restored to all + bus transport made free for all students irrespective of social class and revenue….
I’d say, this means that our politicians have progressed a lot in terms of communication strategies and their implementation but our media people still have to learn to unwind those strategies in order to get to the bottom of things.
Well, seeing the PM on all national TV channels in a democratic country is like going back to dictatorship!