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Wednesday, 26 September 2018 09:19
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Solutions to promote the role of journalism-communication in leadership and management in Vietnam

(LLCT) - Vietnamese Journalism - Communication (J&C) has successfully fulfilled its political task but many limitations and obstacles still exist. In order to improve the quality of J&C for leadership and management, it is necessary to simultaneously adopt many solutions: Raise the  responsibility of journalists in ensuring the information for leadership and management; continue to review, amend and supplement documents of journalism; build a mechanism for leadership and managing agencies to monitor and supervise J&C; build regulations stipulating leadership and managing agencies in providing adequate and timely information to J&C and facilitating journalists’ operation; bring into play the role of J&C in reflecting, monitoring and criticizing leadership and management; build and complete the contingent of press leaders and managers to adapt themselves with the trend of multimedia; review and renew procedures of receiving and processing information obtained from J&C at leadership and managing agencies.

1. Impacts of journalism and communication on current leadership and management

During the current period, in the context of complex situations in the region and the world, J&C has completed its political task and strictly implemented the Party’s guidelines, reflecting all developments of the political and socio-economic life in the country and the world in a prompt, adequate and comprehensive manner and serving as a reliable forum of the people. The press has disseminated widely and deeply many significant events of the country with high quality contents and rich forms, especially communications about resolutions of Party Congresses and Central Committee’s plenums, resolutions and activities of the National Assembly and the Government, the Constitution, laws and draft laws discussed and passed by the National Assembly, policies and decisions relating to people’s life, etc. J&C has contributed to building and adjusting resolutions, policies and decisions appropriate to the reality. Based on studying the social criticism of J&C and public opinion, leadership and managing agencies have built guidelines and policies to solve pressing problems in social life and serve the people’s legitimate interests. J&C becomes an effective channel of examining and supervising activities of leaders, managers and managing agencies. J&C has taking the lead in fighting against corruption, “self-evolution” and “self-deteriorating” in the contingent of leaders and managers, “peaceful evolution” and wrong opinions of hostile forces, protecting directions and policies of the Party and the State.

Sociological survey(1) shows that J&C has certain impact on leadership and management. Cadres and Party members at some respondent agencies say that J&C has changed the way of thinking and the awareness of leadership and management (51.9%); changed the method of leadership (30.3%); changed the image and prestige of agencies (20.2%), (Table 1).

Many respondents say that J&C has positive impact on changing working environment at leadership and managing agencies such as helping reduce negative issues at these agencies (23.8%), improving internal solidarity (21.9%), creating effective coordination between leaders and staff (21.5%).

However, for serving leadership and management, J&C remain some limitations which are: the information quality is still low and short of political sensitiveness while some information is not in line with principle and purpose and hasn’t met the requirement of social oriented opinion; the information quantity is not sufficient and still overlapping; methods of exploring and receiving information from leadership and managing agencies have not been updated and methods of broadcasting are not diversified and  convenient for leadership and management; sense of politics, social responsibility, professional ethics and professional skills of a part of journalists are not high while their understanding of political and social issues is still limited; there still remain some obstables in the organization and administration capacity of some managing journalism and communications agencies; some edition boards still pursue economic goals and pay no attention to political task. Journalists haven’t had favourable working environment and prompt protection; attention has not been paid enough to the possibility of coordinating the information for leadership and management, resulting in low effectiveness and impracticality of the information. Punishment of violations in journalism has been stricter but not strong enough for warning. Theological research and summary of practice on journalism has not kept pace with reality while attention has not been given to the improvement of J&C’s quality for serving leadership and management. The leadership role of Party organizations in press agencies has not been brought into full play as it should be. The inspection and supervision of J&C have not been frequently and strictly implemented by relevant agencies.

The above-mentioned situation requires a system of simultaneous and comprehensive solutions to renew and enhance the quality of J&C’s operation and service, especially in the context of current leadership and management.

2. Solutions

a) Set of solutions to raising awareness

Firstly, raising the awareness of the important role of J&C toward leadership and management among leaders and managers

Leadership and management work is absolutely complicated and variously relating to every aspect of social life. In order to collect or get quick and appropriate access to all types of information, each leader, manager or managing agency should rely on and get consultancy from L&C agencies, particularly prestigious agencies such as Vietnam News Agency, the People’s (Nhan dan) Newspaper, the People’s Army (Quan doi Nhan dan) Newspaper, the Communist Review (Tap chi Cong san), the Communist Party of Vietnam Online Newspaper, the Voice of Vietnam, Vietnam Television, etc. All levels of leaders and managers should consider providing information to J&C and responding to journalists’ interviews an “opportunity” rather than a “obligation” because this is an important step to help leadership and management activities satisfy requirements of the reality and decisions by leaders and managers reach consensus more easily. As the matter of fact, when leaders and managers decide to announce their determination in realizing or handling a specific problem of public interest on media they could receive more sharing and assent from the people.

Secondly, raising sense of responsibility from heads of J&C agencies and the journalists in ensuring information towards leadership and management

Journalists assume the responsibility of providing accurate, real and prompt information to all levels of leaders and managers for consultion on bulding resolutions, policies and making important decisions which directly affect the country’s development and the people’s interests. At the same time, through J&C, it is the contingent of journalists who monitor the implementation and execution of resolutions and decisions in order to speed up thoroughly the work when necessary. Therefore, promptness and accuracy are top priorities of journalists during their operation. The information precisely reflected from the reality by J&C is an element to ensure the scientific nature and feasibility of decisions of leaders and managers. Raising the awareness of obligations and responsibilities in serving leadership and management work for the contingent of journalists is the task of governing press agencies and heads of agencies, Party units in these agencies as well as task of each editor and journalist.

b) Set of solutions to renewing and completing institutions, mechanisms and policies

Firstly, continuing to review, amend and supplement legal documents of journalism, creating a democratic environment for J&C to better serve leadership and management

Over the past years, the legal documents in general and legal documents of journalism and freedom of press in particular have been gradually supplemented, renewed and completed. In 2016, the 8th National Assembly passed the Law on Press (amended) which came into effect from January 1st, 2017 and the Law on Access to Information coming into force from July 1st, 2018 with many contents manifesting precisely the spirit of the 2013 Constitution. This provides a legal basis for the press system to strongly develop and totally promote the task of communication and dissemination as well as provide information for leadership and management work.

In order to bring regulations of the Law on Press into reality, relevant agencies should continue to review, build and issue circulars and guidelines on executing the Law and supplement contents which have not been mentioned in the Law. Several sensitive issues including the right to get access to information of the press, the right to ask authorized agencies to answer on the press or the realization of freedom of information on the press, should be concretized in by-law documents. Ministry of Information and Communication, and provincial People’s Committees should review all the documents for prompt amendment and supplementation in order to facilitate the press’s operation, at the same time tightly manage the press and media for common interest, satisfying the requirements of promoting the revolutionary nature of Vietnamese media and press. It is necessary to build mechanisms and policies for the press to both properly perform its function as a sharp tool of the Party, the State and the people in ideological and cultural fields and develop as an economic sector in the socialist-oriented market economy.

Secondly, building a mechanism of managing, monitoring and supervising J&C for leadership and managing agencies

It is necessary to build regulations of clear and concrete coordination between the Central propaganda and training commission and Ministry of Information and Communication with the participation of the Press Association; similarly, regulations of coordination between provincial committees and departments, between state agencies and host agencies and between host press agencies and press edition boards. This mechanism needs a united administration which enables to handle cases in a quick and thorough manner and continuously control the press in order to avoid shifting tasks to others or unclear responsibilities.

Thirdly, building regulations relating to operation between leadership and managing agencies and J&C agencies.

In face of events or situations taking place in social life, leadership and managing agencies should bear the responsibility of providing information to the press so that it can quickly and promptly orientate public opinion. Leaders and managers should make use of J&C as an effective means of disseminating their guidelines and points of view. At the same time, leadership and managing agencies should provide information to the press on activities of individuals and organizations within their jurisdiction (except for nationally confidential information), especially when negative phenomena or law violations take place. It is official information relating to the agencies or organizations’ activities announced by their official speakers. Accordingly leadership and managing agencies should strictly implement the mechanism of compulsorily answering the press when required and always listen to the press as well as consider it an important channel to follow up the situation for construction or adjustment of guidelines and policies and handling of pressing problems among the people.

It is necessary to build mechanisms to facilitate investigations into negative phenomena of the press and complete regulations of protecting journalists during their task performance.

Fourthly, administrating information on social media

Information sources from social media are diversified, rapid and in wide scale including many pieces of information are accurately and factually reflected. Therefore, journalists should have access to and verify the information to re-use or edit it to become a source of the press. This procedure requires a cautious and fully accurate process.

As a State management agency towards social network, the Ministry of Information and Communication should review and renew mechanisms, policies, strategies and planning of developing internet, documents of information safety and management of social media information to promptly handle violations, especially acts of spreading false information or slandering and humiliating Party and State leaders. Related Ministries and branches should coordinate with the Ministry of Information and Communication to issue guidelines on implementing regulations of social media, tightly managing the provision and use of social media and internet-based specialized application services under the state management. Provincial People’s Committees should enhance state management of internet and social network use in their localities. Using social media to oppose the Party, the State, national security, social order and public safety, distributing distorting information to caluminate and damage organizations’ prestige or dignity and honor of individuals, especially leaders, managers and managing agencies, are strictly prohibited.

c) Set of solutions to enhancing quality and promoting the role of J&C in reflecting and monitoring leadership and management

Firstly, enhancing the quality of J&C’s publications

High quality information of the press is understood as the information of rapidness, promptness, accuracy and problem raising, meeting the people’s demand for information and serving the management and administration of the Party and Government. Each press agency should base on its own functions, tasks and strengths to concentrate on reflecting issues concerning leadership and management. For example, the People’s Newspaper, the Communist Review, the CPV Online Newspaper and Political Theory Review should focus on publicing in-depth articles and theoristic researches with scientific arguments for policy making, disseminating the Party and the State’s guidelines and policies; Vietnam Television, the Voice of Vietnam, the Labour (Lao dong) Newspaper, the Solidarity (Dai Doan Ket) Newspaper and the Youth (Tuoi tre) Newspaper should concentrate on reflecting pressing issues of the public concerning the implementation of policies, negative behaviours of the staff and the contingent of leaders and managers; the People’s Newspaper, the People’s Army Newspaper, Journal of the Entire People’s National Defense and VOA should attach great importance to putting articles of criticizing wrong opinions of hostile forces and opposing manifestations of “self-evolution”, “self-transformation” among the internal contingent of leaders and managers.

It is necessary to increase the quality of weekly press meetings co-hosted by the Central propaganda and training commission and Ministry of Information and Communication in order to promptly orientate the information for the press as well as warn and remind the press about previous negative phenomena to prevent potential negative phenomena, “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” among the press. Opinions from press agencies should be paid attention to so as to update information and fully understand other issues in reality.

Besides, press publications need renovation in forms, models, interfaces, mastheads, logos, theme tunes, scene decorations while new technology and techniques should be applied in building press products in order to not only satisfy content quality but also diversify and advance displaying forms.

Secondly, intensifying the J&C on socio-economic events and social critics

In the coming time, J&C should strengthen dissemination of resolutions, decrees and conclusions of the Central Committee, the Poliburo and the Secretariat and legal documents of the State, particularly contents of the resolutions of the 4th plenum of the  Party Central Committee (11th tenure) and the 4th plenum of the Party Central Committee (12th tenure) on Party building and rectification, fighting against “self-evolution” and internal “self-transformation” in the contingent of Party members with the importance attached to strengthening study and following Ho Chi Minh Thought, morality and lifestyle; solutions to restrain inflation and stabilize macro-economy as well as ensure social welfare; fighting against corruption, waste and negative phenomena and at the same time properly performing the function of reflecting socio-economic events in the spirit of science, accuracy and rapidness.

It is necessary to promote the role and responsibility of J&C in social supervision and critics, especially towards leaders, managers and managing agencies. Accordingly, J&C should focus on legitimate issues, events, opinions and aspirations from the people in terms of policies and guidelines of the Party, planning and implementation of social policies in order to have impact on adjusting policies and activities of leaders and managers, increasing responsibilities and explanations of individuals and leadership, managing agencies who have related responsibility or engagement in a certain case. It requires certain skills and experiences among the contingent of journalists during their operation so as to ensure the most accurate and reliable communication.

Thirdly, expanding the contingent of collaborators who have thorough knowledge of leadership and management

In order to have quality information for leadership and management, press agencies should develop a contingent of collaborators who are scholars, experts, scientists and seniors in leadership and management. Press agencies should frequently exchange information and hire collaborators to write about issues within their knowledge as well as update and provide materials and information for them to improve their writing quality. Developing collaborators who are leaders and managers in office, retired leaders and managers or those who have thorough knowledge of or experiences in leadership and management is the basis for the production of many good quality articles of highly social influence.

d) Set of solutions for organization and resources

Firstly, building an environment of social democracy, increasing publicity, transparency and information openness

This is the most basic solution which decides and mainly controls other solutions in order to expand and enhance the role of J&B towards leadership and management. Only in a democratic environment do press agencies have opportunities to get access to information from leadership and managing agencies, enterprises and social organizations as well as reflect it publicly and widely. For a democratic society, it is necessary to promote the freedom of information, freedom of speech within national law. Therefore, legal documents should be built and completed to provide legal basis for quickly expanding the process of social democratization and actively using J&C as a resource, a mean and a method to connect all social resources.

Secondly, building and completing the system of press agencies according to Planning Project on press development and management until 2025

Under the press development and management planning until 2025, it is necessary to re-arrange all press agencies from central level to localities, overcoming overlappings, widespread investment, loose management and operation diverging from purpose and principle; clearly identify leadership and management responsibilities of all Party committees and administrations, especially heads of press agencies. Continue to review and re-organize the press system throughout the country in an appropriate manner, sorting press agencies by function and task and thereby, building suitable regime for each agency (one performing the political task, another performing the task of scientific research, entertainment or business) in order to overcome levelling of performance. At the same time, complete state management organization and institution of the press to overcome overlappings, vague assignment and classification between management agencies, between central level and localities, ensuring the efficiency of directing and managing the press all over the country.

Thirdly, building and perfecting the contingent of press leaders and managers, reviewing and standardizing key leadership positions of press agencies

Attention should be paid to building the contingent of press leaders and managers having morality, steady political spirit as well as professional and management skills. This is a “filtering set” of verifying and evaluating information, detecting new and precious information as well as preventing information which is distorted, spread with bad purpose, personal motivation or “group interest”. Therefore, it is necessary to select, educate and foster knowledge and skills of press leadership and management for this resource.

Forthly, enhancing professional skills, professional ethics for the contingent of editors, journalist and technical staff

The contingent of J&C staff should be frequently educated and trained in terms of profession, political theory and press ethics. Meanwhile, in the context of strongly developing information technology, journalists should regularly enhance language skills and informatics, mastering tools, equipment and machines for their professional operation. A journalist should be capable of observing, writing, recording, taking photos, using cameras for recording and then setting images and editing contents by themselves into a complete product. This is a new requirement for modern journalists in accordance with the trend of multimedia and converging editorial office.

Fifthly, renovating procedures of receiving and processing information from J&C of leadership and managing agencies

Depending on features of their organizational structures, functions and tasks, ministry agencies (and ministry-level agencies), provincial Party committees, provincial People’s Committees (and similar agencies) should organize communication section properly to promptly satisfy the need for information of leaders and managers. The organizational structure should be also compact and professional. As a result, an information mechanism of unity and clarity will be created to ensure rapidness, accuracy and promptness. This section should perform the function of giving advice to leaders and at the same time, bearing the responsibility of helping communication management within the jurisdiction of these branches and localities.

Endnote:

  1. Result of the sociological survey from the National Research Topic “Press information towards leadership and management in Vietnam in the process of renovation and international integration”, Code ĐTQG.2014-G/07.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Luu Van An

Academy of Journalism and Communications

 

 

 

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