Speaker Oquaye warns media against abandoning chamber proceedings

Christopher Arko, GNA

Accra, Feb.26 GNA – Speaker
of Parliament Aaron Michael Oquaye on Wednesday warned the media in Parliament
against abandoning covering proceedings in the parliamentary chamber for some
other work outside it.

According to him,
the media were guests of the House, under the permission of the Speaker; and as
such, any deviation would make them unwelcomed guests of the House and their
accreditation withdrawn.

The Speaker gave the
warning following concerns raised by Mr Osei-Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Majority Leader
over absence of the media, in the chamber on Thursday, during the debate on
President Akufo-Addo’s 2020 State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Meanwhile, Mr Haruna
Iddrisu, the Minority Leader in his remark agreed that media should be dutiful
to the House, adding that the media should focus on serving parliament and not

A larger part of the
members of the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC) on Thursday were not in the
chamber, and were rather conducting interviews with some Minority Members of
Parliament (MPs) following their decision to abstain from the debate on the
SONA in line with their previous walkout.

The media later
returned after their interviews with the Minority MPs.

Prof Oquaye
said:  “Apart from the recognition and
permission granted by the Speaker, members of the parliamentary press corps
will be strangers in this house. In other words, you have our permission to be
h ere by dint of your profession and the work expected of you and we regard you
very highly.

“And I want to let
the media know that what is reported to have happened should not happen
anymore. I have reminded you of the fact that you are here as our guests, by my
permission because of the importance this House attaches to the inky
profession. Any such repetition will make you unwelcome guests,” he added.

Mr Kyei
Mensah-Bonsu, who is also the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs in his remark
took issues with the action of the media for leaving the chamber while
proceedings, was ongoing.  

He also reminded the
media that their loyalty was to the institution of parliament and not
individual MPs.

The executive and
members of the PPC are to hold a meeting on the development the next day,

Nana Agyemang Birikorang,
Dean of the PPC told colleague journalists to calm down as Parliament was not
trying to gag the media.