By ERWIN CHLANDA
It’s a politicians dream: Journalists are present but they are seen but not heard.
They are allocated a place in the room from which they are not permitted to move.
They must get there before the VIP arrives and they are not allowed to leave before he or she does.
And whatever they produce, pictures and text, they must present for approval without which they are not permitted to publish the material.
Unheard of? Well, that’s the routine for the visit to Alice Springs on Monday by His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex, aka Prince Edward (pictured).
Feel like throwing him a quick line such as: “Do you reckon the British monarchy has run its course in Australia, Teddy?” Don’t even think about it.
Here’s the drill, issued by “HRH’s Palace Office” to the Department of the Chief Minister, who’s been trying hard to introduce a similar regime for his communications with media, together with some of his ministers.
“Any photographs intended for public use (including social media) will need to be checked by Cl Andy Aspden, or, where not feasible, Marianna Davis. [Whoever they are.]
“Photos should be limited to 1 – 2 per post.
“Photos should show a posed photograph or an activity taking place – for example a tree planting.
“At no point should quotes from His Royal Highness be included, unless they are approved prior to use.”
Tree planting doesn’t seem to be on the agenda but these activities are.
At the airport: “HRH The Earl of Wessex will be met Airside by a Welcome to Country from the Lhere Artepe on whose land he will be standing.”
It’s possible that Lhere Artepe CEO Robert Campbell (at left in the photo) will be there.
“HRH will arrive at Yirara College and is received by Her Honour the Honourable Vicki O’Halloran, the Administrator of the Northern Territory, and Mr Craig O’Halloran. Administrator will introduce Principal to Mr Chris England.”
“Guitar building in woodwork room – students build the guitars and paint them.”
“Technology rooms where HRH will see students at work using computer aided design programs on screen and meet students involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards program.”
“HRH moves to the Chapel/Hall to meet and greet Duke of Edinburgh Award Centres from other schools with 8-10 participants.”
“HRH walks down a long path lined with students on his departure.”
Anzac Hill: “HRH will be greeted on arrival by the Mayor of Alice Springs Town Council (2) and by Her Honour the Honourable Vicki O’Halloran … HRH to be introduced to town leaders, and youth leaders by the Mayor.”
All this breathtaking excitement will have to proceed without the Alice Springs News, because we don’t submit to censorship – not even by His Royal Highness.
By ERWIN CHLANDA