In generic terms, Public Communication means communication that isn't private to a certain group. So, if you post a comment on a message board that anyone can access, that is public communication. If you say something in a public setting, where a lot of people could gain access to it, that is public communication.
Public communications is often thought of as public relations or mass communications. It is known by many names - public affairs, public information, public relations.
Within such a broad framework, while looking at Governement Communication, ComIPI concentrates on a specific segment, called Public Affairs (PA). PA is a term used to describe an organisation’s relationship with stakeholders. These are individuals or groups with an interest in the organisation's affairs, such as MPs, civil servants, shareholders, customers, clients, trade associations, think tanks, business groups, unions and the media. Public affairs practitioners engage stakeholders in order to explain the organisation's policies, provide statistical and factual information and to lobby on issues which could impact upon the organisation's ability to operate successfully. Their work combines government relations, media communications, issue management, corporate and social responsibility information dissemination and strategic communications advice. They aim to influence public policy and build and maintain a strong reputation.
Within the military, PA Public Affairs fulfills the obligation to keep the citizens and thos who are serving within the military informed, and helps to establish the conditions that lead to confidence in the military organization and its readiness to conduct operations in peacetime, crisis and war. Within NATO, for instance, the mission of PA is to support commanders by communicating accurate information in a timely manner to audiences to improve public awareness and understanding of the military aspects of the Alliance's role, aims, operations, missions, activities and issues, thereby enhancing organisational credibility.
Another segment of Public Communication that is of specific interest to ComIPI is Crisis Communication. During operational activities military organizations apply principles and methods of crisis communication. The same applies to any governmental organization dealing with emergencies.