Medicine And The Media

PRESS RELEASE OF THE WEEK

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.310.6974.266a (Published 28 January 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:266
  1. Richard Smith

    “NHS breast screening programme: minister announces action to further improve quality”

    Is the purpose of government press releases to tell the people what the government is doing, or is it to put as favourable a spin as possible on government activity? They are, of course, mostly propaganda, which is why all but the most desperate journalists ignore them. A constant stream of announcements of successes, increased funding, and exciting speeches of ministers emerges from the departments' press offices, and most go straight into the bins of news editors. Probably because they are so busy producing this confetti, the press officers are notoriously poor at answering questions and giving real information.

    Sometimes the press office may try to head off adverse criticism, and a press release dated 16 January is probably an example. It is headed: “NHS breast screening programme: minister announces action to further improve quality,” and it …

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