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Publicising government activities - Ministers, MMDCEs must complement President’s efforts

BY: Daily Graphic
Hajia Alima Mahama
Hajia Alima Mahama

Communication is an essential function of government, as it helps build broad support and legitimacy for programmes, explain government stewardship and provide mechanisms to hold government accountable.

It also allows the government to determine the needs of the people and respond to them.

True democracy cannot be detached from freedom of the press, as the media serve as an additional check on the power of the government.

 In fact, political communication dates back to the philosophers and scholars of politics in ancient Greece and Rome who used the discipline to shape and influence public thought and policy.

In contemporary times, although the right to free and independent press has created tension for leaders across the world, the good and visionary ones are not perturbed by such challenges and continue to use the media to influence the public and shape political messages.

In Ghana, succeeding Presidents, Members of Parliament and a good number of our political heads at the local government level have communicated directly with the public, often making use of social media, new media and technology.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has continued along that path and additionally relies on traditional outlets such as press conferences to share policies of the government and answer questions from the media.

The Daily Graphic notes that despite the importance of such an exercise, the leadership of many countries lack a culture of consultation and participation that has alienated their citizenry from participation in governance.

For this reason, we applaud our various Presidents of the Fourth Republic for making themselves accessible to the people through their constant interaction with the governed.

We note that because of time constraints during such press interactions, such as yesterday’s, it is not every question or concern that can be addressed.

 We, therefore, entreat political office holders, especially ministers and metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) to continue to engage the people through the media and explain to them government policies and programmes that impact their lives.

Many a time, media practitioners have had challenges getting information that borders on the welfare of the people.

 At times simple clarification of a matter that affects the people has taken ministers a great deal of time to provide.

As much as the Daily Graphic does not support the dissemination of information that is not balanced and fair, we can say that some media outlets have been compelled to carry news as they have it because officialdom has been hesitant to come out with the facts.

We thus entreat people who have been entrusted with public office to take a cue from the routine press conferences by our President and provide information on issues, as we all seek to build an open and free society where everybody will be proud to live.

We are not oblivious of the many strides the government is making to restore the country’s economy and boost infrastructure.

 The railway and the agricultural sectors, revenue generation, digitising Ghana and the use of technology to enhance development are but a few of the achievements the government has chalked up in less than two years in office.

But many of these achievements remain unknown to the citizenry.

Our hope is that ministers and MMDCEs will take the initiative and publicise developments in their areas and make themselves available to the media to inform their constituents of the level of development in their jurisdictions.

It is only when the governed are updated regularly about developments that affect them that they will appreciate the impact of democratic governance on their lives.

Mr President, we encourage you to continue this process with the view to deepening the democratic culture we have chosen to build and consequently help enhance our socio-economic lives.