By Bogita Ongeri
Information is the oxygen of democracy. Denying citizens information is denying them the oxygen they need to survive and prosper.
This wisdom dawned on the framers of our Constitution who enshrined various provisions in the supreme law regarding free flow of timely and accurate information to the citizenry.
The articles regarding media and public information in the constitution puts government communication experts at the centre stage as far as management of public information is concerned.
It bears noting that after all the Bills on media and public information have been enacted into law in the near future, government communication officers and their superiors will find themselves censured for failing to provide information as required.
Information allows people to scrutinize the actions of a government. It is also the basis for proper and informed debate on those actions.
It is, therefore, incumbent upon government communications experts to provide information to the media and the public as required by law.
Needless to say, such information must meet all the standards of accuracy and ethical integrity. Often the media is accused of not checking facts when facts were not available to them by the deadline.
As a communication expert by education, training, examination and practice, my experience has shown me that the media is a political force because they control public information, shape public knowledge and behavior therefore can determine support for or against the government policy, an institution or even an individual.
The media influence on how people think about public policies and issues and they provide feedback to the policy makers on the effectiveness of their policies.
Most Kenyans treat as Gospel truth any news they hear or read from the media and therefore partnership between the media and the Government is crucial to the success of public policies.