In the few days following the launch of the Ideas Campaign on PrimeTime on RTE1, I published a couple of posts highlighting my concerns about some of the terms and conditions imposed by the campaign on anyone who submitted an idea to the website.
I also pointed out some inconsistencies in the campaign itself and its then constantly shifting focus. I highlighted a couple of issues that I had with how the campaign was being run, and published a few questions that in the interests of the same transparency espoused by the campaign could have been answered.
Last Friday morning, my concerns were highlighted in an article published in the Irish Examiner, written by Jennifer Hough.
The article was referred to on the Morning Ireland “It Says in the Papers” just after 8am. Subsequent to that, I was contacted three times each (phone, e-mail and text) by two RTE1 radio shows – Drive Time and The Marian Finucane programme – both asking that I speak to them about my concerns about the Ideas Campaigns Terms & Conditions.
There was nothing untrue or inaccurate in the article as published, nor in anything that I’ve published here on ValueIreland.com about the Ideas Campaign. This article was available on the Examiner.ie website until some time mid-morning when it was removed, and it is still unavailable. (A response from the Ideas Campaign is still available on the website, unsurprisingly!)
I am guessing that the article was removed from the Irish Examiner website at the request of the Ideas Campaign – presumably because in their mind it went against their “no whinging policy”. And as Friday went on, after their initial keenness to discuss the concerns regarding the Ideas Campaign, the RTE1 programmes no longer wanted to talk about the negative aspects of the Ideas Campaign that I was highlighting.
You can read the Irish Examiner article that the Ideas Campaign didn’t want you to read here. See anything bad about any of that?
As I have always done here on ValueIreland.com, I was merely bringing my concerns to the attention of the readers of this site, and then Irish Examiner readers by extension, so that they could act on the basis of having more information about the implications of submitting their ideas to the Ideas Campaign – information that wasn’t being highlighted anywhere else in the only positive media coverage being provided about the Campaign. There was an unquestioning, and still is, promotion of the campaign from many areas of Irish society – despite the dubious terms and conditions.
The validity of my concerns has since been vindicated because the Terms & Conditions page on the Ideas Campaign web page has changed at least twice since I originally wrote about it. Some, but not all of the items of concern have been removed. Some pretty harsh conditions still remain.
Also, since the Irish Examiner article some extra clarification about what the Ideas Campaign is actually looking for has been added to the T&C’s page and to other new pages added to the site as a whole. This is obviously a good thing.
I am concerned however, that the text of the website still doesn’t match the e-mails being sent to interest groups around the country asking for submissions to the site. While the site confirms that it is not seeking business ideas, I have seen one e-mail sent on Thursday seeking to “encourage members to contribute ideas targeted to preserve and hopefully grow employment, stimulate new economic activity, create business opportunities or bring about policy changes to rebuild the economy”. Still looking for business ideas then?
I have never been negative towards the hopes and aspirations of the Ideas Campaign, despite assertions to the contrary. I merely wished that the manner in which they went about their business was more transparent and not so punitive to those who submitted their ideas. But since I raised my concerns, some of these issues have been addressed, though still not all – but still, some good has come from it.
It’s with a little tongue in cheek that I describe ValueIreland.com as Ireland’s only truly independent watchdog, but here’s perfect example of the independence of the site. Despite the overwhelming efforts of the campaign to stamp out any questioning or negativity regarding their campaign (through their “no whinging” policy), ValueIreland.com was the only place to highlight the particularly stringent terms and conditions that were eventually changed.
As the original slogan for this site said (slightly paraphrased), “better decisions through better information”, and at the end of all this, that’s what ValueIreland.com has provided for those using the Ideas Campaign website.