DAOD 2008-2, Media Relations and Public Announcements
Table of Contents
Date of Issue: 1998-01-30
Application: This is an order that applies to members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and a directive that applies to employees of the Department of National Defence (DND).
Supersession: CDS Directive 120
Approval Authorities: This DAOD is issued under the authority of the Deputy Minister (DM) and the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS).
Enquiries: Director General Public Affairs (DGPA)
Canadian Forces member (membre des Forces canadiennes)
A Canadian Forces (CF) member is a member of any component of the CF, Regular or Reserve, unless the contrary is indicated.
media relations (relations avec les médias)
Media relations refer to all activities related to developing and maintaining effective communications with representatives of the media.
official capacity (à titre officiel)
The term "official capacity" means "as a CF member or DND employee in the exercise of their duties".
When communicating with the public as a CF member or DND employee, the CF member or DND employee is communicating in an official capacity (as opposed to communicating as a private citizen of Canada).
operational security (sécurité opérationnelle)
Operational security refers to the principle of safeguarding the integrity of a military operation or activity, and/or the safety of CF members and other personnel involved in the military operation or activity.
public affairs material (matériel d'affaires publiques)
Public affairs (PA) material refers to information products designed to support public affairs activities with internal and/or external audiences.
public announcement (annonce publique)
A public announcement refers to an official public statement or public affairs activity designed to inform the public of a new initiative, or the DND and/or CAF's position on a policy, program, service, operation, activity, initiative, issue and/or crisis. Examples include issuing a news release or bulletin to inform the public of a new policy, program, service, base opening/closure, special event and/or changes in a CAF operation.
3.1 The overriding objective of Public Affairs (PA) is to ensure that Canadians are well-informed and aware of the role, mandate, operations and contributions of the DND and the CAF.
3.2 Canadians expect and deserve to know what the DND and the CAF do on their behalf, whether it is saving lives through search and rescue, providing humanitarian assistance, maintaining combat-capable forces in defence of Canada and Canadian interests and values or contributing to international peace and security.
3.3 As public ambassadors of the CAF and DND, CF members and DND employees are important spokespeople. The media, in turn, represent important channels through which to communicate with Canadians. It is therefore important to nurture and maintain open and positive relations with the media as a way of reaching out to Canadians and providing them with information about how the CAF and DND make a difference.
3.4 It is imperative that the information provided to the public by the CAF and DND is accurate and up-to-date. It is also imperative for CF members and DND employees to respect the principle of operational security, the judicial process with respect to matters before the courts, and federal laws including the Privacy Act, the Access to Information Act, the National Defence Act, and the Official Secrets Act.
3.5 The intent of this DAOD is to establish operating principles, requirements and guidelines for CF members and DND employees for building, nurturing and maintaining a strong relationship with Canadians based on a approach to media relations that is open and transparent within the law.
3.6 To this end, this DAOD:
- empowers and encourages DND employees and CF members to speak to the media about what they do in their official capacity as a valuable and important way to provide Canadians with a richer understanding of the day-to-day operations and contributions of the CAF and DND;
- provides DND employees and CF members with guidance on when to seek advice or refer media requests for information that fall outside of their personal experience to their respective chain of command or PA;
- makes all DND employees or CF members accountable for the accuracy of the information they make available to the media or public; and
- delegates authority to approve information concerning DND and CAF policies, programs, services, operations, and activities for release to the media or public to a level that is consistent with DND and CAF accountabilities for other management functions.
4.1 The Minister of National Defence is the government's principal advocate for defence matters, both within Cabinet and externally on its behalf.
4.2 As the government's principal spokesperson for the DND and the CAF, the Minister is responsible for informing the public about DND and CAF priorities, policies, programs, operations and initiatives.
4.3 The Minister is supported in this role by:
- the CDS, who is the principal spokesperson for the CAF;
- the DM, who is the principal spokesperson for the DND; and
- other subject matter experts, as required.
Primary Media Contacts
4.4 Public Affairs Officers (PAOs) are the primary points of contact for media and public enquiries.
4.5 As primary media contacts, PAOs should:
- be as prompt and responsive as possible, within the limits of the law, when dealing with media enquiries, while recognizing that journalists often face extremely tight deadlines; and
- build, nurture and maintain open and positive relations with the media.
CF members and DND employees Responding to Requests for Media Interviews in their Official Capacity
4.6 CF members and DND employees may agree to be interviewed in their official capacity by the media provided it is to speak about what they do.
4.7 When dealing with a media request for an interview or information concerning what they do, CF members and DND employees:
- can seek advice and support from PA through their chain of command, when desired or when in doubt about how to respond;
- can agree to be interviewed only if they personally want to;
- shall discuss only their own job within their personal areas of experience or expertise;
- shall consult the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) or the Military Police when the interview request concerns an investigation currently in progress; and
- shall respect the principle of operational security, the judicial process with respect to matters before the courts, and federal laws and policies such as the Privacy Act governing the disclosure of information to the public.
4.8 In addition, CF members and DND employees speaking in their official capacity, including designated subject matters experts and PAOs, shall not:
- respond to media queries that fall outside of their personal areas of experience or expertise, unless authorized to do so;
- undermine the safety of personnel involved in, or the potential success of, a CAF operation;
- provide comments that could undermine the integrity of an investigation currently in progress;
- speculate about events, incidents, issues or future policy decisions;
- offer personal opinion on government, DND or CAF policy; or
- discuss advice given to the Minister, Cabinet or the chain of command.
4.9 When considering public announcements, Commanding Officers (COs) and DND managers at all levels shall:
- keep their superiors informed of public announcement plans and activities, in advance and in a timely manner;
- engage PA early in the planning process for advice and support;
- take into account the national dimensions of local announcements and link the announcement to broad government programs, as appropriate (especially when the announcement involves a significant commitment of public funds); and
- respect the need for PAOs to use the PA technical network as an important channel through which public announcements and media relations activities are coordinated across the CAF and DND, and with the federal government as a whole.
DND employees and CF members dealing with potential or actual issues, or significant incidents shall adhere to DAOD 2008-3, Issue and Crisis Management.
The CF shall develop and maintain media relations guidelines for Military Police that are consistent with the principles and direction of this DAOD and DAOD 2008-3, Issue and Crisis Management.
Military Police shall adhere to the Military Police media relations guidelines found in A-SJ-100-004/AG-OOO, Canadian Forces Military Police Policy and Procedures.
PA, including media relations, is a responsibility of the CF and DND chain of command.
COs and DND managers at all levels shall, in a timely manner through their respective Chain of command:
- refer requests for media interviews that fall outside of their personal areas of experience or expertise to DGPA or Command Public Affairs;
- inform DGPA or Command Public Affairs of all media interviews granted, in advance when feasible; and
- inform DGPA or Command Public Affairs of the results of all media interviews conducted.
When planning public announcements, COs and senior DND managers shall, in advance and in a timely manner:
- consult PA;
- obtain approval to proceed from their immediate superior; and
- adhere to DAOD 2008-3, Issue and Crisis Management, when applicable.
When dealing with a public announcement request by a subordinate officer or senior manager, Environmental Chiefs of Staff (ECS) and Group Principals shall:
- consult their senior PAO; and
- taking into account the PA advice received, render a decision on whether to proceed; or
- request approval to proceed further up the chain of command.
When proceeding with public announcements, all PA materials and media relations activities concerning the announcement shall be approved in advance by:
- the Minister, and the DM and/or CDS, when they involve issues of a national scope or nature;
- the responsible ECS or Group Principals, when they involve issues of a Command or Group-specific scope or nature;
- the Commander of the operation, when they involve CF operations within a deployed area; or
- the Area, Division, Base, Wing, Formation, or Unit Commander, as appropriate, when they involve issues of a regional or local scope or nature.
Subject Matter Experts
Subject matter experts shall:
- be designated by the Minister, DM, CDS, or other delegated authority, as required;
- give interviews on the record and for attribution by name and title;
- use their subject matter expertise and PA materials, as required, to respond to media enquiries; and
- never answer speculative questions.
In consultation with DGPA or Command Public Affairs, COs and DND managers shall promptly undertake appropriate PA activities to correct factual errors, misquotes and misleading information attributed to the DND or the CF.
6.1 The following table identifies the primary responsibilities for this instruction.
|The ...||is/are responsible for ...|
ECSs and Group Principals
Commanders of Operations
Area, Formation, Wing, Base, and Unit COs
DND employees and CF members
Public Affairs Planning and Coordination Team (PAPCT)
Command Public Affairs
Acts, Regulations. Central Agency Policies and Policy DAOD
- DAOD 2008-0, Public Affairs Policy
- QR&O 19.14, Improper Comments
- QR&O 19.36, Disclosure of Information or Opinion
- QR&O 24.02, Press Releases Regarding Casualties
- Government Communications Policy, Treasury Board, 1996
- A-SJ-100-001/AS-000, National Defence Security Policy
- DAOD 2008-1, Accountability and Responsibility for Public Affairs
- DAOD 2008-3, Issue and Crisis Management
- DAOD 2008-4, Public Affairs, Military Doctrine and Canadian Forces Operations
- A-SJ-100-004/AG-000, Canadian Forces Military Police Policy and Procedures
- National Defence Act
- Official Languages Act
- Access to Information Act
- Privacy Act
- Copyright Act
- Official Secrets Act
- Canada Evidence Act
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