Sharjah: In the lead-up to the tenth edition of the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF), scheduled to be held in Sharjah on September 26-27 under the theme ‘Historic Lessons, Future Ambitions’, the forum has announced that it will review the critical messages delivered by leaders and governments in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The discussion will aim to offer qualitative assessment of its impact in reshaping lifestyles and the public behaviours to boost the future-readiness of government communication teams in the event of further unpredictable global challenges and emergencies.
A qualitative edition in terms of topics addressed
The tenth edition of IGCF, to be held at Expo Centre Sharjah, will review the historical experience of government communications, especially in times of crisis. He added that this elevates the two-day forum into a qualitative edition in terms of topics addressed and the calibre of its participants and serves as a stepping stone to underline the pivotal role of government communications in bolstering trust between institutions and communities, and in its quest towards achieving socio-economic sustainability.
One crisis, varied messaging
During the pandemic, countries around the world resorted to many diverse and specialised messaging that varied in terms of content, tone and authoritativeness. The direct and long-term impact of these communication strategies have elicited unique responses and behaviours from target audiences worldwide. IGCF 2021 provides a unique opportunity to discuss the vital role of government communication in times of crisis and highlight the valuable lessons crucial for building effective, responsive and agile government communication strategies.
The forum’s purpose of researching and drawing insights from the short and long-term impact of official crisis communication is not to highlight their successes or flaws, but to better understand the cultural, institutional and social motives behind such key messaging that could provide rich lessons and set new standards for those in the field of government communication.
The tenth edition of the forum will point out that government communication experts and observers had identified four main types of official messaging worldwide during the pandemic. These included communication that was motivational, transparent, had mixed or ambiguous elements of denial and procrastination, and those that emphasised pragmatic and corrective action. He said each type of messaging could be analysed to study the unique circumstances of each society, the type of relationship embedded between institutions and communities and the responsibility of government communication teams in presenting credible and informative messaging that reflect the reality of the situation.
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Unique dimensions of crisis communication
The IGCF 2021 calls on institutions, public officials and members of the government communication teams and media to participate in the research and analysis of official communication to assess their impact on societal and economic security in times of crisis. He pointed out that the pandemic led to a massive information flow from various digital and offline sources, which made the audience fall prey to diverse agendas — further underscoring the importance of government communication as a credible and reliable source of disseminating the right information in a crisis situation.