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Politics of Thursday, 27 February 2020

Source: Starr FM

Speaker not seeking to gag journalists – Parliament


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Parliament has denied reports the Speaker of the House Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye is seeking to gag the parliamentary press corps.

It comes after a barrage of criticisms were directed at the head of the legislative chamber from members of the media after he threatened to withdraw the accreditation for the press for failing to cover a debate in the House on Tuesday.

In a statement on the matter, the public affairs directorate of the House said: “Parliament has noted media reports purporting that the Speaker of Parliament is seeking to gag the media. The Office would like to put on record that at no time either in his capacity as Speaker or in his personal capacity has Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye sought to prevent the media from doing its work. Parliament recognises the critical role of the media and the Speaker made reference to the same when he spoke about the high regard with which he holds the media’s work.

“Both leaders referred to the need for a dutiful media and the need for the media to remain in the Chamber while the House is still in session. Parliament, the Speaker, leaders and the entire Membership of the House remain committed to the ideals of a free media and freedom of speech as provided for in Chapter 12 of the 1992 Constitution and will not do anything to jeopardise this”.

Meanwhile, Journalism Professor Nana Essilfie-Conduah says the Speaker erred with his threat to withdraw the accreditation for journalists.

“for a blanket threat, would seem he is being partisan but he must remember that every one of them there is at the behest of the country and whether you have the power or the prerogative to, I do not think it is right for him to issue that threat and to carry through that threat. In fact, issuing that kind of threat is a worry and we don’t do things that way”.

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