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‘We do not wait until questions are asked... We go out and reach people’

Article - August 16, 2011
Ghana boasts a lively and open political debate nurtured by the country’s vibrant private press. Here, Minister of Information and National Orientation John Tia Akologu speaks on how he ensures his link in the chain of good governance

Access to information is vital for an effective and truly functional democracy. How are you helping Ghanaians have better access to information?

There are several ways we ensure that accurate information is available. First, we issue electronic and print statements to the media to inform on what the government is doing. We do not wait until questions are asked.

Second, we have organized a number of public forums. For example, the National Policy Fair we recently organized was meant to give the members of the general public direct access to the entities that serve them. We created this forum for the public to be able to access ministries and ask questions.

How do Ghana’s politicians meet with the public?

We are now organizing a ‘Meet the Press’ series to give ministers a platform where they meet and interact with members of the media. They can then explain to the public whatever they are doing. They can also respond to questions and clarify issues. We are also organizing media press conferences, not only at a national level but also in the region. We go out there and reach people.

We will also organize direct interaction with ministry officials in town hall meetings. We have a question and answer component and receive feedback from them. These are some of the things we are doing.

We have documentaries that are broadcast to the people. We organize film sessions then run the documentaries. The documentaries focus on what the government has done for different sectors, such as health and education. They also talk about what the government is going to do. Additionally, we also do street announcements about what government is doing.