The Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has commended the Public Relations Officers (PROs) of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for their quick response to misinformation and disinformation in the public space.
He said the PROs were mandated to disseminate accurate and credible information on government’s programmes and policies to the public and gather feedback for the central government to make informed decisions.
Therefore, it was incumbent upon them to always provide accurate facts if anyone tried to misinform the public.
Speaking during the fourth PROs End-of-the-Year Review Meeting in Accra, Mr Nkrumah said despite the limited resources, the PROs deserved commendations for their efforts in executing their mandate.
The meeting was held on the theme: ‘Curbing Misinformation and Disinformation – The Role of the Government PRO’.
The Minister emphasised the crucial role PROs played in championing government communications and assessing MDAs’ communication strategies, t
hus, aiding them to develop and execute their communication strategies of their policies and programmes.
The Minister clarified that their primary responsibility was not necessarily to speak on behalf of other entities, but to facilitate effective communication strategies for the MDAs.
The Minister highlighted the multifaceted mandate of the Information Service Department, including facilitating feedback for the central government, implementing the Right to Information (RTI) Act, leading to the development of public communication policies, and representing agencies before Parliament.
On misinformation and disinformation, the Minister stressed the importance of PROs’ role in discerning and countering false narratives.
He shared instances where media misinterpretations could lead to unintended consequences and underscored the need for proactive measures to address such issues.
The Head of Public Relations Coordinating Division (PRCD) of the Information Service Department (ISD), Mrs Ethel Cudjoe Amissah, ex
pressed happiness for the annual event that provides a conducive atmosphere to openly assess the performance of the PROs of the MDAs.
She commended the information minister and his Deputy for their continuous support and their commitment to ensuring diligence and efficiency in their work.
Mrs Amissah emphasised the importance of setting targets as key performance indicators at the beginning of each year, noting that it aimed at evaluating individual performances, identify their strengths and weaknesses, make necessary adjustments, and collectively tackle challenges for the upcoming year.
This year’s meeting highlighted various programmes, including the introduction of the ‘Need-to-know Series,’ a peer education initiative where PROs delve into flagship programmes across different institutions.
Detailed presentations on these initiatives are expected at the right time.
Mrs Amissah underscored the significance of open discussions within the PRO community, fostering an environment where accomplishments of 2
023 are shared, and plans are outlined.
The overarching goal is to ensure the effective execution of the Government PROs’ responsibilities, making an impact on the public.
Mrs Amissah, drawing from her studies in Conflict, Peace, and Security, emphasised the critical role misinformation and disinformation play in global conflicts and cited historical instances, such as the Rwandan Genocide, where media manipulation played a pivotal role.
As the nation approaches an election year, the focus on countering misinformation becomes paramount.
Mrs Amissah expressed gratitude to the Information Minister for championing the cause and arranging expert resources to sensitise PROs on identifying and combating information disorders, especially in the era of fake news on social media.
Source: Ghana News Agency