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General News of Thursday, 27 February 2020

Source: GNA

Speaker Oquaye warns media against abandoning chamber proceedings


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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of the Speaker; and as such, any deviation would make them unwelcomed guests of the House and their accreditation withdrawn.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 individuals.

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, Thursday.

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

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