Cameron's 'cautious' approach to the death of Bin Laden praised by public affairs boss

David Cameron was right to approach to the death of Osama bin Laden with caution, but the real comms challenge is still to come, says one public affairs expert.

Bin Laden death: Cameron's 'cautious' approach praised (Rex features)
Bin Laden death: Cameron's 'cautious' approach praised (Rex features)

The global news agenda continues to be dominated today by the news that the head of Al-Qaeda was killed on a compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, following a raid by US special forces yesterday morning.

The Prime Minister praised the death of Bin Laden ‘a great success’, but said it was not the end of terror threats. He is set to address the House of Commons later today about news.

James Tyrrell, director at Insight Public Affairs praised Cameron’s tone but said that a more tricky comms challenge is yet to come.

He said: ‘Cameron has been right to maintain a cautious note on the news of Bin Laden’s death, as this alone is unlikely to end the threat of terror posed by Al-Qaeda. He has also been very measured in his comments about the level of knowledge within the Pakistani Government of Bin Laden’s whereabouts.'

But he added: ‘The real communication challenge will be to separate Bin Laden’s death from decisions around the ongoing military campaign in Afghanistan, which the public view as a war on terror. The Prime Minister must avoid being pushed into a corner on committing to an early troop withdrawal, when the campaign against the Taleban is yet to be won militarily or politically.’

Meanwhile, the media handling around the death of Osama bin Laden has been hailed as a ‘masterpiece in controlled communications’ by a social media expert.

Writing in his PRWeek blog, Paul Armstrong, head of social at Mindshare praised the media handling of the story, highlighting the lack of images that had emerged.

‘This is a great example of a highly controlled roll-out of news that could have gone horribly wrong (and quickly) considering the emotion from both sides,’ he wrote.

‘In a world of Twitter, YouTube and instant upload it's rare to not see coverage of something so huge as the killing of Osama Bin Laden have so few pictures. You could go so far to say that it's a masterpiece in controlled communications.’

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