Government reviews communication strategy

Niël Terblanché

The timely provision of adequate information is essential and it the public to understand, respond to and influence the development and implementation of government policies and programmes.

To streamline the process of information dissemination in the ever-changing media landscape the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology is hosting a review workshop on the implementation of the Government Communications Strategy in Swakopmund this week.

At the root of the government’s communication strategy and approach to dealing with the news media is the principle that the responsibility to provide information is inseparable from the nature of representative government.

The Minister of Information, Dr Peya Mushelenga officially opened the workshop and called on the government communications officers to make their communication channels more accessible to all people, regardless of their location or socio-economic status. Mushelenga also highlighted the need for developing new social media user guidelines.

“The purpose of this five-day engagement is to ensure that Government Communication Officers stay atop and up-to-date with the Government Communication Strategy implementation plan to provide timely access to information to our people,” he said.

The minister pointed out that the mandate of communication officers becomes increasingly critical because the Access to Information Act 8 of 2022 is about to be implemented with the soon-to-be-established Office of the Information Commissioner.

He urged attendees to adapt to the new trend and reality by disseminating public information to people.

“The workshop is also expected to develop and adopt the social media user guidelines, which will serve as a blueprint for the Government’s online communications to ensure consistency and standardisation and will further serve as the overall framework for all public institutions to use as an operational tool and guideline in line with various development plans in areas of good governance, transparency and accountability,” he said

According to Mushelenga, social media has emerged as a game-changer in communicating with stakeholders.

“This makes it important for us to develop further the draft social media guidelines that will guide us on what to post and when, how to respond to comments and handle sensitive information in a manner consistent with our democratic norms and culture encompassing consistency, transparency and effective governance. In the age of social media, public institutions face a daunting challenge of how best to use the emerging digital media ecosystems to communicate with the target population and stakeholders, both in formulating policies and during the ongoing policy process, in a thorough, transparent, conspicuous, timely and intentional manner,” he said.

The minister said that the benefits of government communication can have several dimensions such as information, empowerment, education, development, discussion and decisions and in this regard, the government institutions must provide citizens with information to enhance their perception, evaluation and choices to improve the quality of their decision-making.

He added that the primary reason for government communication is to provide accurate information on the government’s activities.

“The success of government communication can only be judged to the extent that citizens notice and understand such information,” he said.

He said people have the right to know what is happening in their government.

“It is our responsibility to provide them with accurate information promptly and transparently,” he said.

Mushelenga urged communication officers to make our communication channels more accessible to all people, regardless of their location or socio-economic status. He also urged attendees to apply the knowledge and skills gained during the workshop to improve their communication efforts.

About 100 communication officers from various Offices, Ministries and Agencies of government, as well as Regional Councils and Local Authorities, are attending the very important workshop.

Related Posts