WINDHOEK – The critical role of public relations officers cannot be underestimated in any modern society. Public relations officers are front-line soldiers. Even though they are not in the front-line fighting, they do play an essential role by disseminating timely public information to promote the good image of the government.
According to the Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Stanley Simataa, there is a need for public relations officers to be more proactive than reactive to the issues that face the people today.
“When you are dealing with information, do not be in the reactive mode but be proactive. If you let anyone set the agenda for you, then your chances of succeeding are close to zero,” he said while officiating at the annual government public relations officers’ workshop last week.
Simataa further urged government officials always to first apply damage control precautions to any situation that confronts the country and its people. He specifically gave an example of the incident that happened in Katima Mulilo last year, when the municipality bulldozed illegal shacks, which caused a lot of public outcry. Hundreds of people were since left homeless after the demolition of the illegal structures.
“Move quickly to extinguish the fire before it causes more damage because one day you will run out of water,” Simataa warned the government public relations officers.
The Minister also reminded them that the security of the country comes first, before anything else. Hence, they must consider the security of the country when they are disseminating information.
“Do not hesitate to provide information that is already in the public domain, but be cautious on information which is related to security matters, as the security of this nation is paramount. Do not compromise security; refrain from playing games either political or social activism with the security of the state, unless you have allegiance to another state. Remember, we can only enjoy the bill of rights and freedom within the confines of a secured and stable environment of our country,” Simataa added.
Speaking at the same event, Khomas Regional Governor Laura McLeod-Katjirua appealed to public officials to demonstrate their love for the motherland by being loyal and patriotic to the duties that they perform.
“Uphold and protect the good image of the government to deliver effective public service and let us not deprive our public the power they deserve to be on course,” said Katjirua.