Project Case Study
Providing central government communications support in Iraq
Creating a media and communications unit for the Iraqi government
After the fall of Saddam Hussein, the new government of Iraq lacked sufficient central communications capacity. The ability to effectively communicate with its people was, however, crucial for the government in building trust with Iraqis.
As such, in 2004, we were asked to assist the Government of Iraq in establishing a government communications directorate, which provides strategic communications planning and tactical communications implementation for the Cabinet. Our objective in establishing the directorate was to provide a strategic communications capability for the government, ensuring that all branches of central government speak with one voice on major policy issues.
It is responsible for ensuring that a significant proactive communications effort is mounted by government, particularly inside Iraq but also targeting regional and international audiences. It is split into four key areas of monitoring, strategic planning, media relations and operations.
The monitoring unit is responsible for providing daily information for the strategic planners and media relations team. It monitors domestic and international media, including print, broadcast and online.
The strategic planning unit is responsible for the development of the government’s Strategic Communications Plan. The unit analyses all relevant data (such as opinion polls, tracking surveys, audience research, media monitoring reports, ministerial policy documents, and ministerial speeches). Our team is working with the unit to develop communications objectives and priorities, key messages, milestones and making outline recommendations for implementation.
The media relations unit’s primary task is to coordinate and implement domestic and international media outreach. It devises and implements tactical media relations plans that will contribute to achieving the strategic communications and policy objectives. The directorate’s media relations unit is distinct from the Prime Minister’s (and the President’s) spokesman’s teams, although there is coordination between them.
Finally the operations unit established by our team is responsible for the implementation of events and non-media communications such as advertising and information materials. It oversees the smooth and effective implementation of events including press conferences, photo opportunities and speeches. The unit works closely with the Prime Minister’s, President’s and other minister’s diary planners.