Government will be proactive in Agenda-setting – Oppong Nkrumah

Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister for Information, has said the government will be proactive in setting the agenda for national development.

‘Government should not be shy of getting involved in agenda-setting because the only way you can communicate governance properly is by participating in agenda-setting,’ Mr Oppong Nkrumah said.

The Minister said this when he delivered a public lecture on the topic: ‘A Legal Framework for Communicating Governance’, organised by the Faculty of Law, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).

The event was meant to highlight how various laws affect the creation of common understanding about the country’s governance processes and activities.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah said government communication was very important as it enabled it to engage with all stakeholders, create awareness, take timely decisions and shape behaviours, and forge international cooperation.

Through agenda setting, political actors diligently strived to elevate certain issues and make them prominent in public discussions, the Minister explained.

Therefore, proactive agenda-setting would enable the government to send to the public domain the developmental efforts being made so as to generate citizens’ support.

He urged all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to ensure that their Public Relations Officers received and shared information proactively within the government to facilitate agenda-setting.

Efforts to improve inclusivity in government communications through sign language and interpretation should be maintained and mainstreamed.

He said the template developed for crisis communication during COVID-19 pandemic should be replicated during other national crises, adding that, a periodic review of the crisis communication model should be done to keep up with changing trends.

In discussing the legal framework for communicating governance in Ghana, the Minister highlighted five different sets of laws that constituted the framework.

These include the 1992 Constitution and the Executive Instruments, Civil Service Act, and Presidential Office Act.

The others are: Transparency Laws – including the Right to Information Act and the Whistleblowers’ Act-, Wingmen – comprising Political Party Constitutions and Standing Orders of Parliament -, and Free Media Laws such as Article 167(c) and National Media Commission Act.

The Minister said some parts of the legal framework had clarity and allowed for more coherence in communicating governance and participating in agenda setting.

He, however, noted that that other parts of the framework were ambiguous and lacked clarity and authority for the persons supposed to operate in there.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah said that there had been a proposed review of parts of the Presidential Office Act and the Civil Service Act, as well as the Executive Instrument for setting up Ministries.

‘This should bring some more clarity and impetus for the purposes of governance and communicating governance and agenda-setting,’ he noted.

He said the current managers of government communications had made efforts to collaborate with Party Communicators and Members of Parliament to facilitate agenda setting and communication of governance.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah recommended that the ambiguous parts of the legal framework must be given clarity urgently, and the efforts to secure amendment that would bring clarity should be sped up.

The Minister also said there should also be a consensus to deal with the growing threat of misinformation and disinformation.

Source: Ghana News Agency