Fellowship-Wide Services (F.W.S.)

How should a group handle media inquiries?

The Question: Recently our Intergroup received an inquiry from a news station doing a story on teenage sex addiction on the Internet. We returned a call to the reporter, but never heard back. Since the issue of teenage sex addiction affects SLAA as a whole, we wanted to inquire with the steps and tradition committee on how we might handle this issue if it comes up again. There are a host of legal issues to consider when dealing with minors and sex and we are not clear on how to handle them. Any information you might be able to provide would be great.

Tradition 5: Each group has but one primary purpose to carry the message to sex and love addicts who still suffer……The internet is a very powerful medium and I suspect it serves to lure unsuspecting computer users into compulsive, addictive or obsessive practices on the internet. Tradition 4: Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or SLAA as a whole ……Any individual that responds to the inquiry from the news station would be sharing their individual experience strength and hope and would need to make sure to communicate that their opinions do not represent SLAA as a whole. I think the diversity with our program makes it difficult to respond to one specific symptom associated with Sex and love addicts. It could potentially inhibit sex and love addicts with different obsessive, compulsive and or addictive characteristics from recognizing a commonality that could support their recovery. Add to that the fact that the news station would be in control of what is broadcast. This could skew the public’s perception of SLAA as a whole. Tradition 11: Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, TV, film, and other public media. We need guard with special care the anonymity of all SLAA members……The individual responding to the news station needs to guard with special care the communication to ensure it is understood that they do not represent SLAA as a whole. The SLAA rep can share their experience, strength and hope but would need to be clear that no one person governs. And of course the SLAA contact would need to protect all other SLAA member’s anonymity. Tradition 9: SLAA ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to who they serve……our fellowship could help so many more sufferers of SLAA, maybe as a fellowship we should have a service board or committee that can represent the fellowship as a whole for press release purposes.

Additionally, it might be suggested that the Intergroup contact the BPRC (Board Public Relations Committee) for further guidance. You might also consult the 12 Suggested Guidelines for Dealing with the Media, which is posted on the FWS website.

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