The Minister in charge of Information, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, has charged ministries, departments, and agencies to prioritise the involvement of agenda setting in communicating the works of government.
He urged the heads of these institutions to take advantage of the proactive disclosure section of the Right to Information (RTI) Act to frequently make information available to the public.
The minister was speaking on the Legal Framework for Communicating Governance at the GIMPA Law Alumni Association Launch & Public Lecture held in Accra.
According to Oppong-Nkrumah, the Ministry of Information has tools to support public institutions that want to implement the proactive disclosure section of the RTI Act.
“The Right to Information (RTI) Act, has the potential to significantly improve the communication of government. Particularly if you pay attention to the proactive disclosure part of the Act which requires ministries, departments, and agencies to regularly on their own, even when nobody requested information, set the agenda by proactively putting out there what they are doing about this or that.
“We have the devices at the Ministry of Information ready to support any of those functions. But it means that people who run these public institutions first need to know the law, second, they need to pick it up and based on that, do a lot of proactive disclosure. Because if you don’t, there is another part of the law that allows anybody to come search in for information and to use that information for whatever purpose and I even say that is part of agenda setting in governance,” he stated.
The minister explained that without proactive disclosure, citizens could invoke other provisions of the RTI Act to request informatio that will potentially lead to a different agenda being set.
“Except that when people are looking for that information, are not going to use those to promote the work of government or for the communication of government. Rather they are going to use it to say, of all the 500 things you have done, here is one example of something that went bad so that you are so bad.
“Because that person is setting their agenda and framing issues in that way. The onus on us on this side is therefore to profusely use our side to set the agenda to push out there what we’ve done and as I said, that depends on the collaboration and how much interest the people in the system have in supporting communications so that they can make these things available,” the minister stressed.