Mis-Communicator of the Week: Ravindra Kishore Sinha

There are an awful lot of people around the world managing crisis situations and their reputations as a result of the leaked financial data dubbed the “Paradise Papers”. Watching how individuals and businesses respond has been interesting but also reveals that, for many, the first call they make in a crisis is to their lawyers rather than their PR advisers.

One simple piece of advice: saying “no comment” doesn’t work in films let alone real life. There is never a reason to say no comment to a journalist. It doesn’t make you look clever but instead makes you look guilty. If approached by a journalist even in a negative or crisis situation it is still an opportunity to get your message across. 

This week’s award winner, who has been caught up in the Paradise Papers leaks, has taken the awful tactic of “no comment” to new heights. Ravindra Kishore Sinha, an MP in India and one of their richest politicians, was confronted by journalists regarding his alleged offshore holdings in Malta and the British Virgin Islands. His response? To claim, via a note passed through the window of his car, that he couldn’t speak as he had taken a vow of silence and was taking part in a Hindu purification ritual.  

Full marks for (misguided) creativity, no points for transparency. A few hours later a nondescript statement, with lawyers fingerprints all over it, was issued to the media. This belated statement became a mere postscript to the story of Mr Sinha’s vow of silence and did nothing to shore up his damaged reputation. 

Why couldn’t he have just spoken to the journalists giving them the information that appeared in the statement? Or utter some friendly words with a smile that a statement would be issued very soon? As a former journalist Mr Sinha really should know better which is why he is my Mis-Communicator of the Week. 

Mis-Communicator of the Week is written by Edward Staite.