The Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has acknowledged the substantial challenges faced by government public relations officers in combatting misinformation and disinformation.
Speaking during the 4th government Public Relations Officer’s End-of-Year Review meeting yesterday at Accra, the Minister said despite limited resources, the PROs deserve commendation for their efforts in executing their mandate.
The meeting was under the theme, “Curbing Misinformation and Disinformation – The Role of the Government PRO”.
The Minister emphasised the crucial role of public relations officers in assessing ministries, departments, and agencies, aiding them in developing and executing communication strategies for their policies and programs.
The Minister clarified that their primary responsibility is not to speak on behalf of other entities but to facilitate effective communication strategies for them.
He highlighted the multifaceted mandate of the Ministry of Information, including facilitating feedback for the central government, implementing the Right to Information (RTI) Act, leading in the development of public communication policies, and representing agencies before Parliament.
Addressing the escalating challenges of misinformation and disinformation, the Minister stressed the importance of PR officers’ role in discerning and countering false narratives.
He shared instances where media misinterpretations can lead to unintended consequences and underlined the need for proactive measures to address such issues.
The Review Meeting
Taking her turn, the Head of Public Relations Coordinating Division (PRCD) at the Information Service Department (ISD), Ethel Cudjoe Amissah, expressed enthusiasm for the annual event that provides a conducive atmosphere to openly assess the performance of Government Public Relations Officers.
She commended the Information Minister and Deputy for their continuous support and commitment to ensuring the diligent and efficient work of the PROs under the PRCD and the Department.
Mrs Amissah emphasised the importance of setting targets as key performance indicators at the beginning of each year. The meeting aims to evaluate individual performances, identify 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 in due course.
Mrs Amissah underscored the significance of open discussions within the PRO community, fostering an environment where accomplishments of 2023 are shared and future 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.
She cited historical instances, such as the Rwandan Genocide, where media manipulation played a pivotal role.
She further expressed gratitude to the Info Minister for championing this cause and arranging expert resources to educate PROs on identifying and combating information disorders, especially in the era of deep fakes on social media.