Wednesday, 30 December 2020

The Government of Jamaica Communication Policy needs update, but perhaps not overhaul

 The Government of Jamaica Communication Policy needs update, but perhaps not overhaul

With thanks to authors Forrest and Reckord for the article “Enterprise Computing: Digital Governance” published December 30, 2020 in the Jamaica Observer. The article is one of a series that will be published for the benefit of executives and governors of enterprises in general and importantly also apply to public sector enterprises which collectively are known as ministries, departments and agencies MDAs.

From the points raised in the article, I have created a short note to observe how the existing 2015 GoJ Communication policy should be updated urgently in order to be coherent with the GoJ ICT policies. The points raised show that the communication policy seems to have the right mix of core elements, but rapid developments in ICT compel an urgent updating.

Data governance, the article noted, includes but is not limited to four specific areas. Set out below are those areas and where they intersect with an element in the GoJ Communication Policy.

·         Data security, privacy and regulatory compliance; Element 7 – Internet and Electronic Communication Usage

·         System and data integration between new and legacy platforms; Element 8 – Communication Management and Coordination

·         Data sharing and collaboration between employees and business partners; Element 9 – Role of Ministers as Conveyors or Government Information

·         Brand exposure risks; Element 10 – Building Capacity for Communication Policy Implementation and also Element 15: GoJ Advertising Marketing and Sponsorship.

Unfortunate developments at MDAs in 2019 and 2020 demonstrate that this is a section that is ignored by accounting and accountable officers.

The article also gave a short and helpful list of seven items for which an enterprise needs to develop policies. I will highlight where these items are mentioned in the GoJ Comms Policy with a view to showcasing the need to have it updated and effort to have them included in business plans and implemented by the portfolio ministry. This is not only with regards to developments in ICT over the past five years, but the also the burgeoning use of ICT as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic that started in 2020.

·         Accessibility – Element 1 Accessible, Understandable, Identifiable GoJ information. Advertising – Element 15 which has been noted before

·         Data privacy – Element 18 Records management / Cataloguing and Securing Information

·         Domain names – Refers to the ministry with responsibility for ICT

·         Logo and trademark usage – Element 2 Corporate Identity and Standards

·         Security (electronic and physical) Element 7 Internet and Electronic Communication Usage with reference to the GoJ ICT policy

·         Social media and website terms of use. Appendix 5

In this era where misinformation is having a daily impact on what poets call “the fabric of society” (cultural norms with regards to security, health, education, commerce, governance, daily behaviour) these policies are crucial and should be updated if a society believes that it should be a going concern.

References are set out below:

“Enterprise Computing: Digital Governance” published December 30, 2020 in the Jamaica Observer. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/digital-life/enterprise-computing-digital-governance_210985?profile=1008

GoJ ICT policies: https://www.mset.gov.jm/document-category/technology-policies/

GoJ Communication Policy

https://jis.gov.jm/media/FINAL-Nov.-11-2015-GoJ-Comm.-Policy-Final-doc.pdf

https://mof.gov.jm/documents/documents-publications/document-centre/file/1448-goj-comm-policy-nov2015.html

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