House: praise for Government media team
The Government's communications team was this morning praised for its work to help stop the spread of Covid-19.
Jamahl Simmons, the Minister Without Portfolio, who is responsible for communications, told MPs that the aim of his ministerial statement was “to shine a bright light on the tireless work of the Department of Communications”.
Mr Simmons said: “Since the start of this pandemic, the department has worked hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Health to help flatten the curve of this epidemic so as to not overwhelm Bermuda's hospital and medical services.
“The Ministry of Health is to be commended for their hard work and response to Covid-19 and, likewise, I heartily commend the Department of Communications.”
He highlighted that 47 Government press conferences had been held since the start of March.
Mr Simmons said there had also been 173 Covid-19 press releases, 40 public service announcements and more than 600 social media and other graphics designed.
He added that the communications team had also made 1,181 posts to several social media sites.
Mr Simmons said the Government's coronavirus website, launched on March 12, had been visited by nearly 170,000 people.
He added a video of David Burt, the Premier, announcing the shelter in place emergency order posted on Facebook had got almost 45,000 views.
Mr Simmons told a remote session of the House of Assembly that the Covid-19 crisis had led to several “communications firsts” for Bermuda, including the first time that daily press briefings had been held, the first time speakers in multiple locations had gone live on Facebook and CITV, and the first time a purpose-built environment for social distancing had been created for press conferences.
Susan Jackson, the Opposition Whip, questioned how security was being maintained while the Government used online platforms to communicate.
Mr Simmons said that the task of verifying all of the Government's social media accounts had begun at the start of the year.
He added that social media monitors flagged up fake social media accounts as soon as they were found, and that the public was also notified.
He highlighted a warming that was issued recently over a cloned account said to belong to David Burt, the Premier.
Mr Simmons said the Government had also stressed the importance of online vigilance.
He explained: “There are people who will seek to use this time to spread misinformation.”
• To read Jamahl Simmons's statement in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”