One of the strengths of the Flagstaff House is the institutionalisation of media operations. Apart from the state-owned media, a number of private media organisations are also represented at the Presidency.
There is a media briefing room inside the Flagstaff House.
In modern democracies, political leaders rely on the mass media as a primary sources of reaching out to the public.
Not only do the media have an important role to play in the flourishing of the democratic system, but they also provide opportunities for the government to sell its agenda to the public.
As a result of this, every visionary President takes keen interest in establishing strong relations with the media to propagate his/her agenda.
At the Flagstaff House, the communications bureau, headed by Mr Stan Dogbe, is the interface between the Presidency and the mass media. It provides the presidential press with information on the President’s activities.
Besides, the bureau is in charge of organising accredited journalists for the coverage of the President’s activities.
The bureau is responsible for providing communication, research and information services to enable the presidency communicate effectively within government, and with the local and international publics.
Keeping public informed
No one keeps the people better informed about the Presidency than the presidential press. Therefore, the relationship between the presidency and the press corps must always be cordial.
Every President comes into office with a personal style. A President’s relations with the media team that covers him can project a positive image for him or vice versa.
President John Dramani Mahama provides an example of one who never comes into friction with presidential correspondents. When necessary, Mr Dogbe would draw reporters’ attention to what the President perceived to be inaccurate reports.
This relationship is significant because even in the United States, which prides itself as the bastion of democracy and press freedom, the presidential press corps sometimes encounter difficulties undertaking their duties.
Being a presidential reporter means you must be spending a good part of your working hours at the Flagstaff House, and many other areas where the President would take his work to.
At the Presidency, the media are constantly on the move. President Mahama is a bundle of energy. So his communications office is always kept busy. A lazy journalist can definitely not cope with the pace of work.
Sometimes, the President heads to the office at the crack of the morning and works deep into the evening. You have to respond to messages from Mr Dogbe to cover the activities.
Naturally, the relationship between the presidency and the media corps cannot be perfect but there is no friction, intimidation or mistreatment from any quarter.
Mr Dogbe’s character is somewhat complex to the outsider or the uninitiated but he is someone any hardworking journalist would love to work with.
It is important that the presidential press and the man who serves as the link between the corps and the Presidency continue to work together to support the President to carry forward the development agenda for the country.
Indeed, the presidential staffer says his interest is in results from the team he is working with. This means hard work and nothing else. One significant thing is that journalists have unfettered access to his office.
The President is yet to meet his media team since I started reporting from the Presidency. Perhaps, his work schedule has not allowed for that but I strongly believe that something would be worked out shortly.
The press team would love to have the opportunity to wine and dine with the President and possibly share some jokes as it happens in the White House every year.
The Writer is the Presidential Correspondent of the Daily Graphic