Communicators meeting sets tone for new fiscal year

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pretoria - A meeting of government communicators in Pretoria on Thursday thrashed out a number of issues, particularly in view of the need to jack up their function in support of the work of government as the beginning of a new financial year approaches. 

Communicators reiterated the need to keep South Africans informed of the work of government and the opportunities that exist in the country through the variety of platforms that exist, including the mass media. 

Emphasis was around popularising the work of government on the five key priority areas of government, namely job creation, education, health, fighting crime and rural development.

On the need to work as a collective, the communicators reaffirmed the oneness of government and the need for joint planning amongst departments and better coordination of government communications. 

The communicators strongly and collectively deplored what they believe is an abhorrent practice, observed over the past few weeks, that involves the leaking of information from confidential meetings.

The meeting cautioned those responsible for the leaks that their actions constitute misconduct and that steps will be taken to safeguard the confidentiality of internal staff meetings. 

The communicators distanced themselves from both the actions and the contents of the leakages as they impugn their professional conduct and compromise good governance. They also expressed worry that they may no longer be able to speak freely in meetings if the actions of those that leak information about confidential meetings continue. 

The meeting also called on journalists that rely on the leaks not to allow themselves to be co-opted by a few ill-disciplined elements. 

The communicators expressed an understanding that it is also their role to ensure that government does its work transparently and that information is readily available to empower South Africans and to allow citizens to make informed decisions.