Blair's spin doctor recounts "fascinating trip" to Belgrade
Alastair Campbell, known as former British PM Tony Blair's adviser and spin doctor, has written a blog post about his recent "fascinating" visit to Belgrade.Source: B92
He recently held a lecture for Serbian government employees tasked with public relations, causing considerable media attention, while the government announced that "cooperation with him and Blair's consultancy will help modernize the state apparatus."
Government sources told B92 at the time that Campbell held a one-hour meeting with cabinet ministers' PRs, while "a team of experts of the British government" would soon organize training "on communications in the process of EU accession."
"I have had a sudden rash of inquiries from Serbian media about a trip I made last month to Belgrade, so rather than deal with them all individually, I thought I would put a short statement on here. Apologies to the journalist who asked first a couple of weeks ago," Campbell wrote on his blog.
According to him, the Serbian government asked him "to meet government ministers and officials and to discuss strategic and communications challenges."
"In particular we focused on Serbia’s continuing efforts to achieve EU membership and the role that effective proactive communications could play in helping meet that goal. We also discussed the way the media landscape is being transformed by technology and globalization and the challenges and opportunities they present," wrote Campbell, who describes himself as "communicator, writer, and strategist" on his website - and added:
"It was particularly interesting for me to go there, because my main prior experience of Belgrade was when I was overseeing NATO comms during the Kosovo conflict, and the current PM was involved in the Milosevic information campaign. Indeed it is not that many years ago that I was advised against traveling there. But I received a warm welcome and found the short trip fascinating. I got the sense the government is serious about the reforms needed to make progress towards membership of the EU."
Moreover, he finds the Balkans "a particularly interesting region."
"It is also hugely important to some of the big challenges facing the world more widely. I hope to go again," Campbell concluded.