Who speaks to the media?
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is perceived as an ambassador for the Church and is often recognised by the media as the appropriate person to comment for the Church. The Moderator is encouraged to engage positively with the media, in full consultation with the relevant Convener and/or Secretary. As an ambassador of the Church the Moderator is not a political figure so does not generally comment on political issues.
Council and forum Conveners are responsible for comment on matters that fall under their remits to provide expertise in the area being discussed by the media. On some occasions, after consultation, it may be deemed that such matters are better presented by the Moderator as stated above. Often a statement will generate press interest if presented by the Moderator rather than a convener.
In the absence of the Conveners it would be expected that Vice Conveners would comment on matters pertinent to the council or forum remits. In the absence of Vice Conveners it may be expected that the Principal Clerk or Council Secretaries would make comment on behalf of the councils or forums.
It should be noted that The Guild, which changes its Convener annually, often uses its Secretary to make informed comment on specific issues. The Convener would comment on internal Guild matters and matters of national Guild policy.
For local stories affecting only one Presbytery or congregation, it is entirely in order for local representatives to speak to the media directly. However, where such matters have the potential to impact on the Church nationally or cover an area of national policy the media must be referred to the Communications Department at 121 George Street, Edinburgh, where a decision will be taken on how best to respond. It would also be expected that where a Presbytery or congregation is contacted by a member of the national media, that the Communications Department would be informed. If in any doubt the Communications Department should be contacted for advice.