The Ministry of Information has embarked on a series of measures aimed at strengthening Public Relations and Communications Offices to make them more productive.
The Ministry of Information held a consultative meeting in Kigali over the weekend with Communications Officers from various government institutions, in a move to shed more light on their duties and responsibilities.
In a press address at the sidelines of the meeting, Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said that the decision to give more weight to Communications Offices emerged during the recent government retreat that was held early February this year in Rubavu District.
“It was remarked that the general public has little knowledge of these offices and their duties,” she said. “It is very critical that people get to know their roles and responsibilities.”
The minister explained that Communications Officers are expected to work as close advisers in their ministries and institutions, which implies that they need to have a deep understanding of government policies and be able to help in elaborating strong programmes for the functioning of the institutions.
She added that Communications Officers also have the responsibility to communicate to the public what their institutions have to offer, a fact that obliges them to work closely with the media and have the capacity to relate fairly with them.
“These people need to have good relationship with the media, and avoid any kind of mistrust amongst themselves,” she explained, adding that a Communications Officer always needs to have an updated database of both local and international media and have the capacity to determine what has to be given to them through interviews.
As she pointed out, the government is planning more professional trainings and consultations to elaborate duties and responsibilities. Mushikiwabo added that appropriate budgets would be allocated to these officers, and consistent follow-ups would be undertaken to make the offices more accountable.
A similar meeting took place early last month, the first of its kind since the government expressed concerns over the sector’s accountability.