We welcome media representatives at searches, but at the same time we exercise considerable caution. The public have a legitimate right to accurate information and it is in BSAR’s interest that we have good public relations. However, there are some elements of the media who appear to feel that the drama of people’s lives and welfare is dull stuff and that only acrimony and criticism sell newspapers and televi¬sion time. These reporters have pressed BSAR members to make comments critical of other organisations and to generally stir up trouble.
The Police are responsible for the conduct of a search, so only they can issue accurate, complete and official statements concerning the search. BSAR members should not speak to reporters, either formally or informally. A simple question can be followed by a more contentious one. Members need to be very discrete, particularly in the vicinity of the search base, when discussing theories, future plans, particular events and criticisms.
The media may ask a search group to stage a shot, for example as they head off from search base. There is no problem with this occurring, provided it does not overly delay things, or change what the group was going to do anyway.
Under certain circumstances the Police may invite the Field Organiser or another member of BSAR to speak to the media. When this occurs, the Police will brief the member on specifically what is to be covered. In general, comments should be restricted to an account of BSAR’s involvement and search conditions.