Welcome to Information Services Department
Information Services Department (ISD), the principal public relations outfit of the Government and the whole state machinery, can trace its origin to 1939 when it was established as a branch of the then Gold Coast Government Secretariat.
Its immediate objective was to keep the people of the Gold Coast, which seemed for the most part remote, informed through news and pictures about the progress of the Second World War (1939-1945).
During 1940, one cinema van was imported and three were locally manufactured to enable the Department send war films and a weekly newspaper, "The Empire at War" to towns and villages with motorable roads. Also distributed to the people, was a post war publication, "The Gold Coast Bulletin", which was restricted to the capital. After the war, socio-economic and political agitations in the country fueled by the failed promises to the ex-servicemen who had seen action in Burma, India and other places led to the 1948 Christiansburg Cross Roads riots in which three ex-servicemen, namely Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Atikpoe and Private Odartey-Wellington were killed. This increased the nationalistic instincts of the people which nearly destabilised the country. The result was the appointment of the Watson Commission to investigate the widespread disturbances.
The Government's white paper on the Watson Enquiry Report was that there was communication gap between the Colonial Government of Gold Coast and the people.
It said the Gold Coast Government was aware of the importance of a fully effective system of public relations and had taken steps to reorganise the Public Relations Department. The Department was renamed the Department of Information Services in 1949 when the need for a more effective system of informing the public was felt, the department was re- organized under the name of Department of Information Services.
Three regional offices were opened at Cape Coast, Kumasi and Tamale. Expatriate executives from the regional administration in these areas were drawn from the appropriate offices to establish the new regional offices. However, within two years, they were replaced with Africans trained within the Department.
It has a rich experience in public education, with the use of mobile cinema vans and been present in all major campaigns to prepare the grounds for political and social changes including all the general elections, introduction of Value-Added Tax (VAT), referenda, census, the Volta River Project and its settlement programme.
The Volta River Project was the construction of dam for the nation's hydro-electric power station to kick-start the country's industrialization programme. The construction of the dam had come with the largest man-made lake in the world (no nation has contested this assertion). It became necessary that people living along the banks of the river were evacuated and this herculean task fell on the shoulders of the Department.
Later in 1966, after the February 24 Revolution, the Department was merged with the existing Ministry of Information to become the central publicity agent of the government. Prior to the establishment of the News and Currents Affairs of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) and Ghana News Agency (GNA), officers of the Department were responsible for syndicated news for both radio and the print media in the country.
The Information Services Department has been the foundation of many segments of Ghana's current media scene in all respects. For instance, the Department's small Gold Coast Film Unit which made development-oriented films like "Progress in Kojokrom" and "The Boy Kumasnu" was the basis of the Ghana Film Industry Corporation, which was divested in 1996.
The functions of the Overseas Information at the Ghana Missions were transferred from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Department. This resulted in the creation of the Division of Overseas Information.During this period, press officers were sent to over fifteen key diplomatic outposts, which raised the Department to the status of a diplomatic organization and enlarged her scope of activities.
Note must be taken of the fact that the Department had officers taken to the London Office even before Ghana's independence.
Shortly after the overthrow of Dr. Busia, the Public Relations Secretariat was changed into the Information Services Secretariat.
Early in March 1971, the Ministry was spilt up. The Ministry proper was renamed Public Relations Secretariat and the Department renamed the Public Relations Department. The setup is now the Ministry of information and Media Relation and the Information Services Department respectively.
The greatest asset of the Department is that from inception, it was weaned or divorced from governmental propaganda. As a result, ISD has remained an active out post since independence, through which the public is sensitised and educated to see themselves as owners of government, state property and the overall national development programmes and activities.
The weaned from propaganda is reflected in the fact that the Department is an autonomous unit headed by a technical Director, a public (civil)servant, who is a communication specialist as opposed to a politician. Consequently, the Department has become a credible communication organisation among the citizenry of this country.