The Central Office of Information (COI) has closed it’s doors after 65 years.
Is this because it is no longer necessary to dictate to the public who they should lead their lives? Is it because the government has finally woken up to the fact that the public can pretty much run their own lives, in fact did so for millenia before the invention of government?
No. None of the above.
The Central Office of Information has been closed down because it now the Distributed Offices of Information (DOI). Instead of one central department issuing public safety adverts it is now a multitude of different departments. So we have the NHS issuing Smoke Free adverts. We have the Health Department producing films about the dangers of eating too much. We have the railway department financing adverts about the dangers of ignoring railway crossing signals.
Instead of the single office we will now have seven offices of information. All of them continuing to produce scary films that if they had to be put past the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) would fail at the first hurdle. You had kids that were scared of the Daleks and hid behind the sofa but they grew up and realised it was just fantasy. The COI films managed to scare kids for life, mostly based on very rare cases of harm such as the irrational dangers of young kids driving a tractor off a hill.
Do we really need any government office of nannying fusbucketing information? Life is full of dangers and most of the population are intelligent enough to understand the risks. And those who aren’t (the minority), aren’t going to be listening to the information. All it does is create a climate of FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) which is a negative feedback process. Remember the AIDS films with the toppling monolith? This FUD alone probably counters any potential positive aspects of public information films.