By Hatem Mohamed..
SHARJAH, 5th MARCH, 2020 (WAM) -- Government communication is key to address the truth, gain public confidence and ultimately have a healthy society, according to Michaelle Jean, the former Governor-General of Canada.
"People like their governments’ officials to come up with straightforward responses, but some governments feel threatened to do that. It is all about building trust," she told Emirates News Agency, WAM, on Thursday.
"When you do that, people feel included and once they feel that you have a better cohesion and a healthy society," she added in an interview on the sidelines of the International Government Communication Forum in Sharjah.
Michaelle Jean is a Canadian stateswoman and a former journalist. She was the first woman to hold the position of Secretary-General of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie.
She also was sworn in as a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada in 2012.
Canada’s Governor-General from 2005 to 2010 expressed her admiration at what she described as the "public trust and appreciation" she felt once she arrived in Sharjah.
"A lot of people talk about His Highness Sheikh Sultan [Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah]. I see a high level of respect for him and when I listened to his speech in the forum’s inaugural session I realised the public trust and appreciation from the people towards him," she said.
"It is because his concern is about how to engage people. He is concerned about reality and what the challenges are. It’s about listening. And when you do that in the spirit of government communication, you build trust and become credible because you know people are part of the solution.
"Such a type of leaders take the time to listen and respect. People in this sense realise they participate to find solutions to challenges. We need to invest in human capital to build a better future," she added.
Jean, 62, described the Emirati social fabric as "strong," saying that it is all about good governance. "Good governance is about inclusion," she emphasised.
Judging from her own experience as a former journalist on the rise of new media versus traditional journalism, Michaelle Jean said, "Being rigorous is essential for journalists to be believed."
"In social media you have the best and worst options, but we have to take the best out of it and make a way for dialogue. I was a journalist for 18 years for a public broadcasting corporation. Comparing with the time when I was a journalist, things are now going too fast and this is a problem for democracy. When things go very fast, rumours take the space.
"When I went to the other side as a public figure in the government, I could see how very disruptive fake news were.
"Unfortunately, once anything is said now, even though it’s wrong, it becomes a fact. The professional care of verifying the objectivity of things being said is missing," she said.