New guidance published by DCMS suggests that individuals giving press interviews on sensitive subjects, such as a terror attack, should first talk to a lawyer.
The guidance says "Dealing with the media can sometimes be distressing and daunting. It is your decision whether or not to speak to journalists. While it may not feel like it, you are in control of this'.
The guidance adds that individuals may want to appoint a 'trusted adviser', such as a lawyer, to look after their phone and filter calls for them.
What is DCMS thinking?
Lawyers are good for many things, but advising on media relations, particularly when a big story is breaking - well that is unlikely to end well.
What advice are they to give? What bit of law covers media relations? How should they charge - they won't do it for free?
In my experience, most would happily advise 'no comment'.
People are not entirely as stupid as DCMS seems to think. Individuals acting in a professional capacity will often seek advice when dealing with the media - from a PR professional.
Private individuals are as cautious around press as they are politicians.
Perhaps DCMS should take advice before offering it.
People considering talking to the media about a sensitive issue should first seek out a lawyer, according to latest government advice. It appears in guidance published last week by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport for handling media attention after a major incident. Recent terror attacks and disasters such as the Grenfell Tower fire have naturally attracted considerable media attention, thrusting members of the public into the spotlight often without any idea how to handle the attention. The guidance says that communicating with the media in a controlled way can be a positive expeirence and may reduce the number of enquiries people have to field. But the advice cautions that providing information may also lead to more coverage and could affect any investigations that might be ongoing.