Government launches own ‘news service’ to sell message

THE Government has launched its own “news service” in a bid to sell its message better.

Key policies and issues which the Government wants publicised will be presented “in the language of a news bulletin”, the coalition said.

The Government has insisted it will present these reports “objectively”.

But perhaps anticipating criticism that it is attempting to circumvent the media, the Government has denied it is trying to “compete” with news providers.

It does say, however, that the service will allow citizens to “review many speeches in full”, thereby giving “a clearer picture of Government intent”.

The service will post its “news” reports, as well as press releases and videos, on a website, MerrionStreet.ie, named after the Dublin street on which Government Buildings is located.

The website says it will be the Government news service and will “give people a view of Government from the vantage point of Government Buildings itself”.

“In simple terms, MerrionStreet.ie will review the wide range of Government activity and then report certain key events as news,” the website says.

“All Government press releases will be accessible from our website… But our central task will be to take a variety of events and report on them objectively, in the language of a news bulletin.

“MerrionStreet.ie is produced by a team in Government Buildings, involving the Government Information Service, Government Press and IT. Our objective is not to create a competition with traditional media in terms of deadlines, scope or scoop. Indeed we hope journalists find MerrionStreet.ie a useful reference point, and are free to report and use its elements.

“But it will allow people with an interest in the work of Government to view latest developments on one website, which over time will become a valuable archive of information.

“It will allow a citizen to hear or read again, the words of the Taoiseach or a minister on an important subject. It will allow you to review many speeches in full, giving you a clearer picture of Government intent.”


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