Minister: There is not much time for journalists

'It has not been possible to get an interview with the minister' or 'How to write the minister in an email response sent by a press officer'. These formul

Ann McDonald
Ann McDonald
02 January 2020 Thursday 19:00
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Minister: There is not much time for journalists

'It has not been possible to get an interview with the minister' or 'How to write the minister in an email response sent by a press officer'.

These formulations are not unfamiliar in the Danish media, and therefore has Extra Leaf made an informal count.

using a search in Infomedia has Ekstra library found 37 examples of journalists have asked on an interview with a minister, but instead have received an answer in writing, since the current government took office.

The minister who most times appears in the search, is general, rasmussen, Morten Bødskov (S).

- Morten Bødskov, in Ekstra counting, are you the minister, as the most frequently given answers in writing. Why do you think it can be?

- When you is best known, so there is very, very, very many journalists, as intended. It is a big area, and it is an area, which is very much in vogue, so therefore there is a extremely big interest for it.

- Just in this half year we have had 20 bill in the parliament, plus all the other things, as a minister, and so is your calendar too packed that you can not reach to speak to all journalists. But it does not mean you do not speak with journalists. In recent days I have spoken with Berlingske, Jyllands-Posten, DR, Politiken and now also with an Extra Magazine. One can certainly not hide itself as best known, it is quite real, says the minister.

According to several experts it is a big problem, when those in power do not make up for the interview.

- It is the clear strategic interest by providing only written answers, it is, of course, that then one is free to obtain follow-up question with the same. The politician has so to say a strategic interest in being able to control the interview.

- It is problematic in the sense that why should a minister have a right to control communications. If you have a free press, which should be able to go critical to those in power, so it can make it really difficult for journalists to perform their work, " says Erik Albaek, professor at the Department of Political science and the Institute of Journalism at the University of Southern denmark.

Associate professor in journalism at Roskilde University Jesper Knudsen believes that the written responses gives politicians too much power.

- If the politicians are increasingly trying to take control, because they think it's a little annoying that they are disturbed by the journalists, so it's a delicate balance. It gives them the too much power, can you say, he says.

Ekstra Library has found 37 examples of ministers in the current S-government, which since 27. June has chosen to respond to inquiries from the media in writing.

the Examples are found in artikelarkivet Infomedia by searching on, that the word minister should appear in the vicinity of the 'written response', email responses, or 'no comment'.

There are thus probably not talking about the full overview of the written responses from the ministers.

general, rasmussen, Morten Bødskov (S) rejects, however, that he use the written answers as the easy way without on the critical issues.

- Can you see yourself free of that it sometimes just is an easy way to send a reply in writing, if you do not have the desire to answer critical questions?

- Which has grown you can't slip out of problems, I think it is clear to all. And I use the me not of. It is just that with the many other tasks you have, then, the reality is just that, there are some situations where you have to send a written answer, and, in most cases, accept the journalists also what he says.

None of the experts know of studies that establish the scope of the written answers, however, according to Jesper Knudsen is the written response a picture on a trend of the time.

- The here practices like that would send quotations on mail is also a part of a larger power struggle that we see played out between journalists and politicians in these years. The extremist picture on it are some such as ralph waldo emerson and Trump, as decidedly will discredit the function, role and credibility.

- Many politicians are quite clearly, by depriving the media of their role as those who can set an agenda, simply by failing to respond, by responding in a way so that they have control over it, or by calling the journalists for balancing, he says.

Back in november acknowledged The political rapporteur, Jesper Petersen, in an interview in Deadline on DR2, there is a trend.

the Article continues after the image ...

During the political rapporteur has focused on the tendency with the many written responses. The ministers do better, he says. Photo: Jens Dresling

- There has been a development over a number of years, where there will be given several written responses from ministers and other politicians. It existed under the previous government, and it also makes this here.

- Since this discussion has come, so we also had to think about us a little bit about. I have also seen a little extra for and must provide right. It is true, there will be given many written answers, and the ministers - we can - do better, he said in the program.

But the minister should have not going to change its practice.

- Now when you hear that you give the most written responses in our survey, is it something you intend to change in the future?

- I strive always to speak as much as possible with the journalists, but it is clear that here is a ministry where there is so much to do that sometimes so you have to provide a written response, and I'm glad that many journalists know and accept that it is just the way it is, says Morten Bødskov (S).

Updated: 02.01.2020 19:00


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