Letter - In defence of the Home Office PROs

I feel strongly that the Home Office press office has not 'covered up' news or offered its seniors 'ill-conceived' advice (News, 16 November). But following last week's news on Jacqui Smith being advised not to disclose the number of illegal immigrants working in the security industry, I do believe all of us need to think harder about matching speed with accuracy with today's 24/7 media demand.

The demand needs to be fully respected and PROs need to have this fully incorporated into their training. In PR, we have to make decisions on what we know best. Let us judge one of the country's most powerful, complex and dynamic organisations on a number of its actions and not just one.

The Home Office PROs were right. Making sure our facts are correct and not misleading is a must before getting in touch with key stakeholders such as the media. None of us should be criticised for making such a valid decision, as the media and public demand this.

The accuracy of information is essential to corporate communications and its public relations arm. But the trouble occurs when this accuracy needs to be matched by speed.

Kunal Mehta, PR lecturer, Thames Valley University.

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