Featured: The nothingness of the Information Service Department (ISD)

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    Most of my previous articles pointed out to some corrupt acts on the part of some individuals and government institutions. The collective responses from the masses in relation to the fight against this canker has been very positive and inspiring. I have always believed the fact that, together, we can build and progress as a nation.

    My attention this year is on some institutions which are of no use in our contemporary Ghanaian society yet we do pay them with the struggling tax payers’ money. It’s a pity we live in a country where nothing seem to work and nobody really cares about that. The questions that come into mind anytime something is not in the right direction are ‘Whose fault? And whose duty?’

    A small unit was established during the 1939 – 1945 war to provide information on the progress of the war. This unit did a very positive work as far as the dissemination of information was concerned and later became a department on it on. At least I witnessed the marvellous work it did during the late 90s and early 2000s. Information was well and accurately disseminated with their usual green and yellow car and their horns on top. Officers spoke in languages that were understood by the locals. I am talking about no other institution today than the Information Service Department (ISD).

    The Information Service Department which would be referred in this article as the ISD is a very broad department which has been instituted as the Public Relations outfit of the government both home and abroad. I am made to understand that it is well represented in all ten (10) regions with 191 district offices. The ISD is also headed by a director who is assisted by five (5) Divisional heads who are to supervise various sections and units under the department.

    This is a well-established principal department which when utilised can bridge the communication gap we are experiencing as a nation now. It would have been appropriate if the ISD is allowed to disseminate information on government policies, programmes and activities. It is disheartening to hear and watch individuals who have limited information on government related activities moving to and fro traditional media stations, polluting the whole country with policies they do not even understand let alone communicating to the general public.

    As I studied the functions of the ISD, I realised that it is responsible for the collation and assessment of public reactions to government policies. It would have been better for government to employ the ISD to go round and gather the views of the general public on its intended programs and policies. This will go a long way to provide realities on the ground to our leaders for them to work in line with overall public demand and interest.

    It is about time we advise ourselves not to abandon ISD but rather point out strategies to improve their work especially in this era of Information and Communication Technology. We pump in huge sums of money annually to fund the activities of the department yet their impact are not felt positively and greatly. Government over the years has abandoned them so as the general public. ICT is fast growing in our schools and in our part of the world and so can be linked to the works of the Information Service Department to provide accurate information.

    We can establish a responsive tow – way channel of communication between the government and the people to proactively and readily assist the government’s investment promotion and developmental programmes towards good governance. This is a vision we must all look forward to achieving in a short term of our democratic dispensation.

    I finally urge the Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Communication to work hand in hand with the Information Service Department for a better Ghana. A country where its citizens are well abreast with information, a country where we don’t abandon institutions but promote and strengthen them to work for the tax payer to benefit from his or her toils.

    In all things, let us not forget the fact that, it is solely the duty of the Information Service Department to disseminate information to and fro government and the general public respectively for they are being paid for that.

    Writer: Ekow Paintsil Djan

    Writer’s Email: [email protected]

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