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General News of Friday, 28 February 2020


You have no power to gag the media - Kwesi Pratt tells Speaker

Kwesi Pratt Jnr., media practitioner and social commentator Kwesi Pratt Jnr., media practitioner and social commentator

The Speaker of Parliament has no power or authority to gag the media, according to the Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr.

Rt. Hon Prof Mike Aaron Ocquaye reportedly issued a stern warning to members of the Parliamentary Press Corps at Wednesday's sitting.

This follows a complaint from the Majority Leader 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 President's 2020 State of the Nation Address.

Speaking on the floor of the House, Rt Hon Mike Oquaye indicated that he will not hesitate to declare journalists as strangers in parliament by revoking their accreditation if due coverage is not given to proceedings in the House.

"It is forbidden if they have any doubt to abandon 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...," he warned.

His comments, meanwhile, has not gone down well with a section of the public, particularly media practitioners, who consider threat as an attempt to muzzle the press.

Kwesi Pratt Jnr, who was contributing to a panel discussion on Peace FM's morning show ‘Kokrokoo’ Friday, said the Speaker cannot prevent the media from coming to Parliament because they are representing Ghanaians.

“You cannot determine what is the news value for the journalist…meanwhile, these journalists attend proceedings more than the MPs. Journalists are more punctual than MPs…The Speaker has no right to stop the media from coming to parliament because they are working for the people of Ghana. The Speaker cannot use such authority or power to stop the media from attending proceedings,” he fumed.