General News Politics

Straightening The Role Of The Ministry Of Information, Mensah Thompson of ASEPA Writes

I think that at this it is important that we clarify the core mandate of the Ministry of Information and draw government’s attention to the governance blunder that is going with the Ministry of Information becoming the Mouthpiece for almost all other State Agencies which is creating serious problems for the image of these agencies. First of all it is important to note that the Ministry of Information is fundamentally the Mouthpiece of the Executive Government. It is like the Public Relations department of the Executive arm of government and its core mandate is to manage information flow from the Government to the people and Vice versa. Apart from that it also has a responsibility of cordinating information flow from all other Ministries,departments and agencies for government as well as the Citizenry. All these Ministries, Departments and Agencies also have Spokespersons as well as Public Relations Department. So it is important that the Ministry of Information draws a clear distinction between its role and that of that of the PR unit of the various agencies and not be seen clearly taking over their jobs irrespective!.  If you understand information management, you will know that what is going is a huge administrative blunder!(and am sure the Agencies themselves are quite worried)There are two major types of information…Primary and Secondary Information. Primary information directly comes from the source and it is more reliable, credible and potent than information from secondary sources.  So for Example, in the case of the rescue of the Kidnapped Canadian girls, Any information coming from the Minister for Information may be Secondary Information because the first hand information carriers in this instance is the Police who carried on this operation.The Police also have a PR department as well as a Spokespersons.Why can’t we as Citizens be treated to a blow to blow account of the rescue operation by the Police PRO instead of the plenty talks by the Minister for Information  (after all he wasn’t even there..) So this is what have been going on for a while now, the Ministry of Information comes out to defend almost everything including matters of the Electoral Commission and I get worried.If the opposition or stakeholders raises any concern about the E.C, the E.C have a PR department whose primary responsibilities includes clarifying matters of elections to the people and stakeholders, that is not the job of the Minister for Information or the Ministry of Information.  The danger in what is happening is that, Once the Minister for Information or the Ministry of Information  (which is seen as a Political Office) is seen Speaking for independent State Institutions like the Bank of Ghana,Electoral Commission, Ghana Police Service etc, it publicly diminishes the Independence of these State institutions.  Apart from that it also invites unecessary Political scrutiny into the operations of these State Agencies and it that will really suffocate them( because they cannot play along that usual Political path the Politicians maybe used to.) And that could really affect their operational efficiencies. So it is important that the Minister for Information,  donot attempt to micro manage information flow from independent State Institutions to the people, it’s a clear affront to the Independence of these Institutions.Government Communication must be  distinguished and inline with governments own communication strategy but the limitations must be drawn to allow for the institutional independence of the major independent agencies to thrive!!! Mensah Thompson Executive Director, ASEPA 0542120628 Cc.Minister for Information Source Foster 

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