| VATICAN CITY, July 9
VATICAN CITY, July 9 Former Hong Kong Governor
Chris Patten will head a committee to advise Pope Francis on how
to re-vamp and modernise the Holy See's media strategy, the
Vatican said on Wednesday.
Patten, 70, one of Britain's most experienced politicians,
will be president of an 11-member committee made up of six
experts from around the world and five Vatican officials.
It will make proposals within the next year to bring the
Vatican more up to date with communications trends, improve
coordination among departments and cut costs, a statement said.
The Vatican, which already has a number of internet sites
and Twitter accounts, including that of Pope Francis, will use
more digital media to reach a wider, younger audience, it said.
Patten, a former Conservative Party chairman, served as the
last British governor of Hong Kong as well as external affairs
commissioner for the European Union.
A Roman Catholic, he also worked on behalf of the British
government to manage Pope Benedict's visit to Britain in 2010.
He most recently was head of the organisation that oversaw
the BBC, enduring three turbulent years as Britain's public
broadcaster battled a series of scandals. He stood down in May
after heart surgery, saying he needed to reduce the range of
roles he undertook.
The other non-Vatican members of the committee come from the
United States, Germany, France, Spain, and Singapore
Last year, the Vatican hired international consultancy
McKinsey to prepare a report on how to improve Vatican
communications. The new committee will review that report, the
The Vatican has six separate communications departments - a
press office, television, radio, newspaper, an internet office
and a communications council, which exercises an academic and
They have been known not to communicate or cooperate with
each other and sometimes have appeared to be in competition. In
the past, one department has published important information
without telling the others.
The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, is 150 years
old, and its editor is trying to modernise it to help shed its
drab and staid image.
Vatican Radio, which broadcasts in 40 languages, takes up a
big chunk of the Vatican's budget and some officials have
questioned whether such a big structure is necessary in the
Some of the languages the radio uses are holdovers from the
period when it, like Radio Free Europe, was one of the few
sources of independent information in the communist East bloc.
(Additional reporting by Kate Holton in London, Editing by