Topical satire: The 2023 closed partnership conference

BBC cult TV series
BBC cult TV series "Yes Minister." Source: "Yes, Prime Minister"/BBC

What might the agenda look like for a closed partnership conference? What follows is the fruit of a journalist's sick fantasy, which while not laying claim to the truth is nevertheless inspired from the cult BBC series "Yes (Prime) Minister" and life itself.

Closed Partnership Conference 2023. Agenda (coffee and lunch breaks to be announced at a later time):

- How to have document systems automatically classify documents as for internal use only;

- How to classify documents as passively public (read: for internal use only);

- How not to give journalists real answers and instead ask for the questions in writing to avoid follow-up questions to consciously vague replies, or if you do not want to answer every question;

- How to answer ten written questions in a single reply, which conveniently ignores questions you do not feel like answering;

- If publication X has found out something unpleasant, never answer questions directly and instead send out a press release to all publications – this helps water down the severity of the problem and project openness;

- How to insult a journalist when they have a critical question, pointing first and foremost to the low quality of the Estonian press and its low-brow interests compared to colleagues in the West, also state budget funding if dealing with ERR;

- How to get the minister not to answer questions but instead post on Facebook where not all critical questions are answered, where journalists cannot ask follow-up questions and where the minister can deny harebrained and exaggerated accusations no one has made;

- Have a state-funded marketer write a column on the utmost importance of changing the names and logos of state agencies during a time where everyone has been ordered to cut costs;

- Give patronizing lectures to journalists, not forgetting to recall that Estonia is also at war and how there should be no stories on topics the government finds unpleasant (such as inflation) because it serves the Kremlin's interests;

- Should a journalist lament the situation, find a colleague of theirs willing to write a social media post on how everything is actually different and reward them with an exclusive piece of information or the like;

- If a journalist still refuses to learn their lesson, call their boss, or better yet their boss' boss;

- How to ignore requests for information from the National Audit Office and spew nonsense to justify your actions;

- How to reduce the public's access to trials – extra credit for allowing journalists to attend but not write about proceedings;

- How to hike the VAT rate on periodicals and threaten to slash the public broadcaster's budget to make the press acutely aware of the hand that feeds;

- How, where and when to hold an open governance conference where you can talk about what an open society we have.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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