Britain’s Foreign Office and their law makers are taking the 2012 Olympics they will host very seriously and proving it’s never too early to start thinking of possible crises and how to manage them. In preparation for the Olympic Games to be held in London, officials think it wise to set up a “rapid response unit” to rebuff or correct negative stories that could damage the UK’s reputation.
This piece of news comes after a Foreign Affairs Committee report about the initial promotional campaign run by the Foreign Office, which show it’s not inclusive enough.
“Experience seems to show that too many national messages at events such as this tend to muddy the waters,” said the Chairman of the Committee, Richard Ottaway MP. “We should refer back to our original bid, that London is an open and welcoming city, and that the UK is a diverse, inclusive and friendly country. Or, in a word, that both London and the UK are generous.”
With about 25,000 journalists covering the games and over 4 billion people watching the Olympics on their TVs, negativity could spread like fire. While hosting and organizing such games generally boosts a country’s reputations, the FAC still recommends a cautious approach and well thought out crisis management.
“We recommend that the FCO should form a ‘rapid response unit’, set up well before the Games, which is adequately resourced and prepared to take swift action to rebut or challenge negative stories appearing in the world media,” said the report.
While it praised the Foreign Office use of social media channels to get their message across and adapt to recent government fund cuts, the FAC still recommended that Olympic public diplomacy should be regarded as a priority.
In order to accommodate the recommendations made to them, the Foreign Office will create short movies featuring stars of foreign origin, including Pakistan cricketer and England spin coach Mushtaq Ahmed, talking about what Britain has meant to them. The short movies will be posted online to continue their campaign of promoting the 2012 Olympics.