Prime News Ghana

Parliament backtracks on threat to sanction journalists

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh
Parliament of Ghana
Parliament of Ghana
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The Leadership of Parliament has backtracked on its threat to sanction journalists for covering issues other than the ones in the plenary.

Addressing journalists at a meeting today the Majority and Minority leader said the Speaker comment did not intend to gag journalists in Parliament.

Speaker of Parliament, Mike Oquaye yesterday threatened to sanction journalists for covering issues in Parliament other than the ones on plenary, especially during proceedings.

READ ALSO : Parliamentary press corps to hold crucial meeting today over Speaker's warning

This follows a complaint from the majority leaders Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu to the effect that journalists abandoned proceedings of the house to give audience to the MP for Ellembelle Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah who had concerns about the energy sector aspect of the State of the Nation Address.

Speaking on the floor of the House the Speaker indicated that he will not hesitate to declare journalists as strangers to parliament if due coverage is not given to the proceeding of the House.

"It is forbidden if they have any doubt to abandoned the permission given them to cover proceeding in this honourable House and go outside the chamber itself and do some other work....... and I want to let the media know if that which was reported to have happened should happen anymore I will......on the fact that you are here as a guest......any, such act will make you unwelcomed guest..."

But at a meeting with journalists the Minority Leaders, Haruna Iddrisu said free press better enhance and deepens transparency and accountability.

READ ALSO : Speaker's comment unfortunate - Dean of Parliamentary Press Corps

"We all share with you that the values of transparency and accountability are better enhanced and deepened by a free press, probably if we have had an in-house discussion at our level this is a matter which I believe was just one which should be referred to the Director of Public Affairs and the Dean so that as we are resolving it we could just resolve it. 

The Majority leader on the other side said the intention of the Speaker was misconstrued.

"Parliament rallied the media behind it to find it course, that is how to fight corruption effectively and efficiently do necessarily require the services and indeed the partnership of the media so there can't be any attempt to gag the press and I don't think that was the intention of the Speaker."