February 29, 2020

The Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) has noted that the threat by Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Oquaye to withdraw the accreditation of the media in Parliament over they covering an individual MP whiles proceedings was ongoing as unfortunate.

According to the GJA it is an affront to media freedom and free speech and added that Parliament is a House of the people.

And in the interest of the public, journalists’ access to the House cannot be deemed as a privilege but a necessity to enable them report to the people what their elected representatives are up to during official and any other activity in the House.

In a statement by the President of the Association, Mr. Affail Monney noted that whiles journalists may not have the right of presence in Parliament, their presence in the House greatly enhances promoting accountability, transparency and good governance.

“It is not for nothing that our forebears dedicated a whole chapter (Chapter 12) in the 1992 Constitution to media freedom. Article 162(4) of the 1992 Constitution was designed to insulate the media from control or interference in the performance of their duty. Article 162(5) further mandates the media to sup hold the responsibility and accountability of the Government (including the Legislature) to the people of Ghana without fear or favor”.

The GJA wishes to respectfully assure Parliament of its esteem respect for the august House and the Right Honorable Speaker in particular, however, it will not countenance any action that attempts to take away the media’s right to inform the people and the people’s right to know, the statement noted.

“We not hesitate to take any and every action, including legal recourse, to vindicate and reaffirm the freedoms and independence of the media should this unhealthy threat or admonitions resurface in future”.

The Speaker of Parliament is on record to have said “You are here as guests by my permission because of the importance this House attaches to your profession. Any such deviation would make you an unwelcome guests and your welcome would be duly withdrawn.”

This threat was in response to a decision by some members of the Parliamentary Press Corps to cover a news conference by Minority Spokesperson on Mines and Energy, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, on the state of Ghana’s power sector while proceedings were ongoing in the Chamber.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com