jueves, 9 de noviembre de 2006

Las normas de Karen

Karen Hughes, subsecretaria de Estado para la Diplomacia Pública y Asuntos Públicos de los Estados Unidos, ha decidido enviar un breve memorandum a todo el servicio exterior que depende de su Departamento con el fin de que mejoren y hagan más eficaces sus apariciones en medios de comunicación. Y es que Karen, después del último exabrupto, protagonizado nada menos que por la persona encargada de la diplomacia pública del país en Oriente Medio, ha decidido escribir un breve recordatorio con las prioridades que deberían tener los diplomáticos en materia de comunicación.

Gracias a The Washington Post, que lo publicaba en su edición del 8 de noviembre, podemos acceder a su contenido. En el texto, Karen Hughes recuerda que una de las misiones, la fundamental de la diplomacia pública, es la de

effectively advocate our policies to foreign audiences

Y esa tarea requiere una actitud proactiva. Equivocarse no quiere decir que nos quedemos quietos, viene a decir la subsecretaria de Estado, a los diplomáticos estadounideses.

Con sus recomendaciones, Karen hughes busca algo que ya ha puesto en práctica en sus anteriores cometidos: la necesidad de que los esfuerzos de comunicación estén coordinados. En una organización tan burocratizada y con tantos "potenciales portavoces" a lo largo y ancho del planeta como el Departamento de Estado, esta tarea no resulta fácil. De ahí que pida algo tan complicado como una mezcla de proactividad, iniciativa y prudencia a la hora de comparecer ante los medios de comunicación.

Complicado porque, según se deduce del memorándum, hasta profesionales tan familiarizados con la comunicación como los diplomáticos norteamericanos se conducen con una cierta torpeza cuando se trata de verbalizar las políticas de su país fuera de él. Así, sorprende que Hughes pida cosas tan obvias como que el diplomático coordine sus mensajes con su gobierno, cuente dónde y cuándo ha dicho algo y no necesite autorización para reaccionar públicamente ante catástrofes o tragedias. Parece haber una inmensa prevención burocrática dentro del Departamento de Estado que impide que sus diplomáticos reaccionen con naturalidad ante los medios de comunicación de su misión sin que medien autorizaciones previas.

Pero en lo que no repara Karen Hughes es que el mismo mensaje, la misma política, puede tener, y de hecho la tiene, distintas lecturas según el país donde se encuentre el diplomático en cuestión. Mensajes "ganadores" internamente y en algunos países más o menos cercanos, se convierten en "perdedores" en otros. En ese caso, la visión del propio diplomático resulta de vital importancia a la hora de hallar el mejor mensaje posible, que pueda ser comprendido eficazmente por la audiencia de cada país. Conseguir esa colaboración, en un entorno tan burocratizado, será el gran reto de estas "normas de Karen".

Horas después de conocer el vuelco demócrata en las elecciones legislativas celebradas el martes, este memorandum adquiere una gran importancia. No en vano, las novedades que se produzcan en la política exterior estadounidense, como consecuencia de la mayoría demócrata en el Congreso, van a tener que ser muy bien explicadas en los foros internacionales para evitar que se perciban en un sentido contrario a sus intereses.

El texto del memorandum de Karen Hughes es el siguiente:

SUBJECT: ALDAC [All Diplomatic and Consular Posts] Speaking on the Record

1. Last year, I sent out a message detailing some guidelines for speaking on the record and engaging with media. With the launch of our regional hub effort, it is especially timely to reissue this message so that my policy on this is crystal clear. I also want to reiterate up front that media outreach, especially television interviews, should be a top priority in mission activities and when developing the schedules for visiting USG [U.S. government] officials.

2. I want you to know that my office and I are here to support you as you go out and do media. I know that doing any media, especially television, is a challenging endeavor. But it is a challenge we must address in order to effectively advocate our policies to foreign audiences. I also believe it is critical for Chiefs of Mission to get out on the media and to support their staff who do appear on television. When you do media, the stakes are high, but it's important. No one is perfect and there is always the chance that any of us will occasionally make mistakes -- that doesn't mean we should stop appearing on television or participating in press conferences. We need people out there giving our side of the story. The real risk is not that we occasionally misspeak, it's that we miss opportunities to present our views, and leave the field to our critics and detractors.

3. During my recent trips and meetings with many of you, I have heard concerns about problems with getting clearance to speak on the record to reporters. I promised I would send out a message clarifying my policy on this issue, and providing what I hope is clear guidance for you all in dealing with the press. In this message, I want to share "Karen's Rules" in the hope that you all will have a better idea of what I expect, and how you can react.

4. Rule #1: Think Advocacy. I want all of you to think of yourselves as advocates for America's story each day. I encourage you to have regular sessions with your senior team to think about the public diplomacy themes of each event or initiative. As a communicator, I know that it is important to get out in front of an issue or at best have a strong response to a negative story. One of my goals during my tenure at the State Department is to change our culture from one in which risk is avoided with respect to the press to one where speaking out and engaging with the media is encouraged and rewarded. I want you out speaking to the press, on television interviews preparing and executing a media strategy, and providing our points on issues. As President Bush and Secretary Rice have stated, public diplomacy is the job of every ambassador and every Foreign Service Officer. We want you out there on television, in the news, and on the radio a couple of times a week and certainly on major news stations in your country and region.

5. Rule #2: Use What's Out There. You are always on sure ground if you use what the President, Secretary Rice, Sean McCormack or Senior USG spokesmen have already said on a particular subject. I always read recent statements by key officials on important subjects before I do press events. My Echo Chamber messages are meant to provide you clear talking points in a conversational format on the "hot" issues of the day. You never need clearance to background a journalist though you should certainly pay careful attention to how your comments may be used.

6. Rule #3: Think local. Because your key audience is your local -- or regional -- audience you do not need clearance to speak to any local media, print or television. And, you do not need clearance to speak to media in your country, even if it is US based or from a US publication, if you are quoting a senior official who has spoken on the record on a particular subject. The rule of thumb to keep in mind is "don't make policy or pre-empt the Secretary or a senior Washington policy-maker."

7. Rule #4: Use Common Sense to respond to natural disasters or tragedies. You do not need to get Department clearance to express condolences in the event of a loss, or express sympathy and support in response to a natural disaster. Obviously in the latter case do not commit USG resources for support or relief without approval from the Department; but do not wait for Department authorization to offer a statement of sympathy unless the individual or incident is controversial. Your regional hubs can help you in these instances as well.

8. Rule #5: Don't Make Policy. This is a sensitive area about which you need to be careful. Do not get out in front of USG policymakers on an issue, even if you are speaking to local press. When in doubt on a policy shift, seek urgent guidance from your regional hub, PA [public affairs] or your regional public diplomacy office. Use your judgment and err on the side of caution.

9. Rule #6: No Surprises. You should always give PA a heads-up in the event that you speak to U.S.-based media. This ensures that those who should know are in the loop on what is happening.

10. Rule #7: Enlist the help of the hubs (for those who have regional media presence) or my office if you don't get a quick response for clearance or help. The hub network is an extension of my staff, and we are here to support you in your efforts to get the USG position on the record and out in the media. Both Sean McCormack and I are committed to making sure you have what you need to advocate a US position on the key issues at your post.

11. I know this is a departure from how you all have operated over the years. But forceful advocacy of US interests and positions is critical to our effort to marginalize the extremists and share a positive vision of hope for all countries and people. I encourage you to take advantage of opportunities to speak out, and look forward to our aggressive promotion of US policy.

Otros blogs que han hecho referencia a esta información: Eccentric Star

1 comentario:

Anónimo dijo...

Felicidades por este nuevo blog. No tengo constancia de que se estuvieran tratando asuntos de debate sobre diplomacia pública en nuestro país. Respecto a este post, es obvio que EEUU está perdiendo desde hace tiempo la "batalla de la comunicación" internacional. El célebre "no comment", ya parte de la historia, y los pesados y lentos resortes burocráticos han de dejar paso a políticas de comunicación más transparantes y proactivas que mejoren la imagen, que lleven a cabo una adecuada "gestión de la reputación" de EEUU más allá de sus fronteras.