Panama Papers & crisis communication

It’s fascinating to read the drip-drip of stories from the ‘Panama Papers’ leak; and watch those caught up in it, who live in what we might term as ‘open media spaces’, struggle with some of the basics of crisis communication. The Icelandic PM came a cropper at the first hurdle. (The following does not apply to those elites living in ‘constrained media spaces’ e.g. Russians, Azerbaijanis and Chinese caught in the ‘Panama Papers’ spotlights.) To be unable to quickly and publicly lay-out what has happened, if you are caught up in this story, only leaves a vacuum that will be filled with the worst kind of speculation. Leaving questions unanswered creates the whiff (rightly or wrongly) of there being more that we should know, which leads to journalists becoming even more interested in a potential story. Then, some real journalistic digging begins. Anticipate that problems will get worse.

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