One thing we do as a proactive PR agency is advise our clients that saying “no comment” to a journalist is like a red rag to a bull. It is always better to say something constructive rather than nothing. We media train and provide damage limitation assistance whenever necessary – not that it is very often I hasten to add.
I was, therefore, interested at the weekend to read the business section of a quality paper where virtually every article on the first two pages had the line “so-and-so declined to comment.” I do understand that listed companies are bound by Stock Exchange/FSA rules which restrict the comments a company can make about its business and financial situation. So that begs the question, are the journalists deliberately asking questions that these companies cannot answer to make them look bad and is that lazy journalism?
We have clients that are listed and have to tread the line carefully with information we hand out but “no comment” would really be the last resort. I cannot believe that was the case across 10+ articles.