The masses are demanding more openness from government agencies. This is not the solution as it will be a forced process. A just culture must be introduced first and openness will follow. Making mistakes without being slaughtered by press, public opinion or other opportunistic political parties should be possible. It must be a learning culture where mistakes are made so as not to make them again.
“To err is human, to forgive is divine” is not a bad approach to this issue of transparency. We cannot expect officials (both elected and non-elected) to be perfect in their approach and decision-making. What matters is that they understand the reasons for their mistakes and learn from them. It is a very good learning process.
It is a sensitive issue because it has to do with human nature. But we cannot run away from it. We must avoid such forced cases of transparency.
Creating a win-win situation is essential for transparent government. The public, the media and civil society must encourage learning. Fear of punishment or dismissal should not be an excuse to shy away from transparency, as this will create some rotten apples in the government basket.
In this modern digital world, nothing can be hidden from people’s prying eyes, but let us not forget that secrecy is essential for many government functions such as diplomacy, covert operations, etc. Government agencies should have some kind of mechanism to filter out unnecessary information that could harm their cause or organisation.
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