Boris Johnson plans televised press briefings as part of government media shake-up

Boris Johnson is planning to introduce televised press briefings as part of a shake-up of the government’s communications operation, it has emerged.

During the coronavirus pandemic, senior ministers – including the prime minister – held daily news conferences from Downing Street to update the public on its COVID-19 response.

Last month, the government scrapped weekend coronavirus briefings due to “significantly lower” viewing figures, before ending the daily news conferences entirely in favour of ad-hoc appearances by ministers.

But those daily on-camera events are now set to return as a permanent feature after Downing Street sources confirmed they are looking to introduce televised press briefings.

This is amid wider changes to include a greater focus on broadcast media, the sources said.

Televised press briefings are a feature of US politics, with the White House hosting a daily event for Washington D.C. journalists.

Under Donald Trump’s presidency, the briefings became known for the combative tone adopted by press secretaries Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The Times reported, under Downing Street’s plans, Mr Johnson will replace traditional off-camera afternoon briefings – delivered by his spokesman for Westminster journalists, known as the “lobby” – with broadcast question and answer sessions.

The prime minister is said to believe the approach will “introduce a culture of transparency and openness”.

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