Arguments For and Against Communication on Policy Intentions

Dave Gelders, Marleen Brans


This article identifies, describes and analyzes arguments for and against more transparent government communication about its policy intentions. In our view the advantages from improved government communication are: (a) the Government can counterbalance misleading and/or incorrect information from the opposition; (b) communication about policy intentions can reduce and/or avoid possible public surprises, misunderstandings, resistance, frustrations and speculations, and increase efficiency; and (c) due to such communication, citizens are informed regarding several points of view, which is an important democratic value. We see the disadvantages of greater transparency as: (a) public money may be used to spread propaganda; (b) there is an increased risk of confusion between policy intentions and actual policy decisions; and (c) the Parliament is not the first body to be informed about the Government’s intention.

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