Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Henry Mussa has challenged Public Relations Officers (PROs) for government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to inform the public about various developments government has achieved through various MDAs.
The minister made the appeal on Friday when he officially launched working retreat for PROs and public sector spokespersons at Nkopola in Mangochi.
Mussa said the current performance of the PROs and public spokespersons was leaving government developments in the dark and, therefore, called for improvement in the next five months.
I asked the President, Prof. Peter Mutharika, ‘why sending me to head another ministry when we only have five months ahead of us?’ and his answer was very candid: the president said ‘we have been in government for four-and-a-half years but nobody knows what we’re doing’, said Mussa.
This means that as PROs and spokespersons, we have not performed. There are a lot of developments happening in government ministries, departments and agencies but we are not talking about them.
‘So, it’s like we’re smiling in the dark and nobody is seeing us to appreciate our smile, he said.
Mussa said he was very passionate to see the public sector spokespersons and government PROs talking about such developments through various media channels other than just through the public broadcaster, MBC.
To achieve this, the minister said he had approached other channels in the country such as Times Radio and TV, Zodiak, MIJ FM and many other channels to open up for the government PROs and public spokespersons to use to reach out to the masses.
In his presentation on the mandate and functions of the ministry, the portfolio’s Director, Gedion Munthali, echoed Mussa’s sentiments, saying the core mandate of PROs and spokespersons was to speak about various developments in their MDAs.
The core mandate of the ministry of ICT is to take information from government to the public and from the public to government and likewise.
The core mandate of PROs and spokespersons is to speak about your ministries, departments and agencies using various tools available for the public to know what’s going on, Munthali said.
The director further explained that there were a number of tools at the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology for PROs and public spokespersons to use including audio visual, press releases, media management (central office of information � COI), publications, social media, websites development management and Malawi News Agency (Mana).
Public Relations Society of Malawi (PRSM) executive member, Herbert Chandilanga who stood in for the Society’s president, Lewis Msasa, hailed the working retreat saying it would bring on the table challenges they were facing and find solutions to the same.
In an interview with journalists, Chandilanga described the minister’s appeal as very crucial and very important feedback given government as a very important stakeholder.
The PRSM executive member, who is also PRO for Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST), said the society would use the feedback to prepare its members to work harder than they are currently doing to reach the expected levels.
Other speakers at the working retreat included the Principal Secretary to Ministry of ICT and Secretary for Department of Human Resource Management and Development (DHRMD), Hilario Chimota, who made a presentation on PROs conditions of services.
According to Chimota, the post of PRO in government was established in October 2012 for the purposes of creating room for publicity of developments taking place in MDAs among other things.
Source: MANA Online