Year 18 | 12 June 2021
MINISTER OF MEDIA INTERVIEW
Moderator: James D. Halpert | Participant: Moonfungus
I am James Halpert and I will be the moderator of this interview with Moonfungus, candidate for Minister of Media. This interview is sponsored by the South Pacific Independent News Network.
The format of this interview will consist of a single section:
ē The only section will feature questions on the candidateís qualifications, intended policies and their vision for the coming term.
The candidate is asked to clearly mark the end of their answers so that I may know when to move on to the next question and to answer no later than 3 minutes after a question has been asked.
[Moonfungus] First of all, I would like to thank SPINN and Mr. Halpert for hosting this debate. Itís really an honor to stand here and be given a chance to serve this wonderful region more extensively than I was able to before.
I would like to start with the admission that the Ministry of Media hasnít been the most active ministry over the past term. Part of it can be blamed on unforeseeable real-life problems that our senior leaders couldnít anticipate, while another part of it can be blamed on our own lack of initiatives to do something. Either way, it is clear that MoM is in need of some reforms. My campaign focuses on generating consistent, sustainable activity in the ministry, getting staffers involved with the workings of MoM through encouragement and guiding, getting the gameside community involved, and giving TSPís residents a platform to speak out their thoughts and opinions. While I know this might sound all too ambitious for a ministry that has been criticized for being inactive by a significant portion of the region over the past two terms, I can guarantee that there wonít be a lack of effort from my side to ensure that MoM rises above its ongoing slump and goes on to be a key part of our region that we can all feel proud of. Thank you.
How would you assess the current state of the Ministry of Media? Are things going well or are there issues that need to be addressed?
[Moonfungus] I would say it's a mixed bag right now; while MoM has improved in some regards, notably in getting more new staffers involved, producing more quality contents, it hasn't showed signs of improvement in other areas, like the lack of a consistent release schedule, little visible activity and just a general feeling of stagnation in the ministry. There are other areas to improve upon and heed advice from others.
A common theme in this election has been, as you mention, the issue of activity within the ministry. Rabbitz has suggested a firm hand approach to ensure that only staff who contribute are allowed to remain on the roster. How would you approach this issue?
[Moonfungus] As much as I respect Rabbitz for their work in MoM, I don't believe that a firm way is the best way to approach this. We have to keep in mind that NationStates, at the end of the day, is just a game. Any and every contributions people make here is of their own volition, so we can't exactly go around and force them to participate in something that they don't like. That would be counter-productive and bad for the overall growth of the ministry.
I would look to encourage all staffers to contribute and guide those who are eager to help us. It's important to create an helpful, positive environment that encourages and self-sustains activity without much input from others and I will look to do just that.
It has been known to pass that, even after a minister encourages people to write, directly gives them assignments and pings people to follow through with them, there still isn't much of a response. How would you adjust your approach if this happened? Would there be anything to be done?
[Moonfungus] While it is unfortunate that this happens, I don't think there's anything we can do except to move on and give the same assignment to another staffer or do the work ourselves. It's not like we can force them to do it; as I said before, it's counter-productive.
I do look to ensure that the assignments that I assign to my staffers are well within their abilities to do so, so that they can be self-encouraged for the task they've undertaken and hopefully go on with it.
Is it possible that this might be historically an issue with outreach and recruitment, in the sense that prospective staff members might not fully understand the work that involves working for the ministry?
[Moonfungus] I would think so, yes. Part of the blame might fall upon us; most of us are not exactly great at explaining the work that is required to put in these areas for the region to function. It isn't a flashy job like foreign affairs or military affairs either, so people lose interest in it quickly and don't pick up much of it from the senior staffers. Yet recruitment and outreach are probably the most essential gears in the well-oiled machine called a successful region. We have to change it by making people concisely aware of what we do, why we do it and how we do it. I see no other way to solve this longstanding problem other than raising awareness among prospective members.
Publications by the Ministry of Media are, at the end of the date, state-owned. If elected, what kind of content would you pursue? Would it be content that advances government interests, content that maintains strict neutrality, or would there a diversity of views, including some that might disagree with what the government does?
[Moonfungus] I would like to pursue a diverse portfolio with MoM's contents. While I won't deny that our state-owned status and my personal leanings will have an impact on the nature of our content, I will encourage others - regardless of their ideological leanings - to voice their opinion through MoM publications. I feel like it's important to understand all the sides before we reach an opinion and I would look to do exactly that.
Have you considered how you would approach situations where content that you publish is particularly uncomfortable to the government or the public, while still legitimate as journalism?
[Moonfungus] It is...a tricky question, to say the least. In some cases, there would times that an uncomfortable situation arises and it would fall upon our shoulders to inform the public what's going on. It is not exactly a great position to be in, if you're a journalist of MoM.
At the end of the day, I would say to go ahead with it if I believe that the publication of such information will benefit the region in the long run. We have a duty towards reporting to the public and I don't want to set this aside, no matter how many storms we might face.
How do you envision South Pacifican media across NationStates? Would you seek to publish content to foreign audiences? Or do you expect to focus your efforts on content aimed mostly at citizens and legislators?
[Moonfungus] I would definitely seek to advertise TSP media contents all over NationStates. TSP is a great region to be in, with an open and friendly community, a lively democracy and lots of llamas. I would like people to know of these facts and I have outlined the ways I want to do this in my campaign.
You have made a case in your campaign for why voters should prefer you over other candidates, but could you make a case specifically for voters who might be on the fence between you and Belschaft, whose campaign calls for the abolition of the ministry?
[Moonfungus] Belschaft, with all due respect to him, bases their campaign on the lack of visible activity MoM has showed over the last term, with the primary evidence being no posts posted in the MoM thread. Anyone who's knowledgeable in how the government works knows that most of government activities, if not all, happens in Discord. This makes the forum redundant to use and nothing but a complexity to add upon a system that already works.
Furthermore, there hasn't been much time since MoM was created as an entity. Are we really going to judge MoM's effects when it has only existed for like what, 3 full terms? 4 full terms? There isn't really much evidence to go around to say that, "Hey look, this system doesn't work. Let's abolish this!"
I would ask those who are on the fence to give MoM another chance, regardless of who's elected as the Minister. While we might not have been able to live up to your expectations in the past, we will try our best to do so in the future. That is a promise from my part and I believe Rabbitz would feel the same way about this too.
Desserts are a contentious issue in the region. Do you prefer cake or pie?
[Moonfungus] Cake for the win.
[Moonfungus] I would like to reiterate a part of my campaign here; while I don't believe that I would be a perfect minister by all means and that I don't believe that I won't make any mistakes at all while performing my duty as MoM, I do promise that I would be fully dedicated to bring positive changes to the ministry and ensure the delivery of quality content to the hands of TSPers and other region members around NationStates. I wish my opponents Rabbitz and Belschaft good luck in the ongoing election and hope that may the best candidate win at the end. I trust the voting Legislators to make the judgement on what's best for our region.
The South Pacific Independent News Network (SPINN) is an independent news organisation established in 2003 with the goal of providing good, insightful and timely commentary on regional events for the citizens of the South Pacific. Opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Board. Content is published via pseudonyms. The SPINN is not associated with the Government of the South Pacific.