English Proficiency Test Solutions

RIGHT TO WITHHOLD INFORMATION

This statement has the presumption that ‘public’ is accepted in lieu of citizens given if the context a country or kingdom. It also assumes that ‘some people’ who represent the decision for the public. In addition, it begs the bigger question of whether the information is good or bad. It does not hint explicitly if this information has been understood clearly by the public and or some people, for them to decide on it. The author does not indicate what the phrase ‘fully informed’ means.

Depending on the type of information and the impact on the public. I would encourage the political leaders to inform the public fully. The full access to information from political leaders ensures that the public if fully aware of what is happening within the country. This builds trust because the public will be aware at all times what is happening within the political class and the government in general. Likewise, release of full information regardless of the nature increases transparency and accountability. When a country’s political leader is willing to fully inform the public, they will remain accountable as they are questioned and put on their toes.

On the flip side the opposite is also true. To fully explore this issue, the first piece of information would be to examine the credibility of information from political leaders. Political leaders play a key role in escalating crucial information from the government to the people and remain as the link between the public and the government. When was the last time you actually believed information from your political leader? Did you sit down and wish they told you earlier or they wouldn’t have said a thing? For example, the release of information from political leaders played a central role in the catapulting the anxiety of nuclear attack during the cold war which resulted in mass panic and increased adoption of bunkers and underground safehouses. On the other hand, during the shortage of sugar in a Kenya, it would be advisable to get the public fully informed about the crisis to aid in decision making and public planning. In both cases we see the need for political leaders to have withheld and fully informed the public.

Furthermore, the need to release or hold any information is dependent on the nature of information. If the information is sensitive in nature and the impact will not be detrimental to the economy or country, then political leaders need not to share to the public. For instance, if the information is on military decisions when a country is actively involved in war, this should be closely guarded to ensure no sensitive information is leaked especially not to the public. This is because if political leaders release this information to the public, it might leak to the enemy side.

Contrary, if the information is meant for public consumption or awareness and will in fact increase their know how, political leaders should support the dissemination of that information. Take a look at the current Corona Virus epidemic, political leaders are collaborating with experts worldwide to ensure public is fully informed. For example, the minister of health in Kenya is at the forefront ensuring that the public receive text messages notifications on all information relating to the epidemic. Political leaders have taken to the all media platforms to ensure the information escalates to the public not only fast but efficiently.  In conclusion, the more information released by political leaders the better place the public is to plan, decide on issues and engage in the country’s overall growth.

By Toni Gichamba

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