We’II not gag the press-Speaker

The Speaker of Parliament Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye has stated that journalists are not above criticism.

It was his view that “No group of people is beyond criticism but let us do our reportage professionally. Facts are sacred, comments are free but report facts accurately.”

The Speaker has been slammed after he threatened to withdraw the accreditation of journalists following the covering of a Minority press conference during parliamentary sitting on Tuesday.

But addressing the house today [Thursday], the Speaker said parliament will do everything to develop and strengthen the capacity of the Parliamentary Press Corps, Rainbow Radio’s Kuntu Blankson said.

This he added will enable them to perform their duties professionally.

“We are for them but they are our children. We must also help them and direct them to develop and that is a national duty,” he stated.

On Wednesday, the Speaker warned that he would not hesitate to treat the press as strangers to the House if they [press] failed to discharge such duties to the House responsibly.

“In other words, you have our permission to be here by dint of their profession and the work expected of them and we regard them very highly.

“I want to make it clear that as much as they may give interviews before or after the plenary and the proceedings inside this honourable House and which interview or contribution could be from the Minority or the Majority any day, it is forbidden if they have any doubt to abandon the permission given them to cover the proceedings in this honourable House and go outside the Chamber itself and do some other work other than to come and cover the proceedings in this honourable House,” he said.

“I want to let the media to know that if that which is reported to have happened should happen anymore, I have reminded you of the fact that you are here as guests by my permission because of the importance this House attaches to the inky profession”.

“Any such deviation will make you an unwelcome guest and your welcome will be duly withdrawn. After sitting, that is when I arise, I want to meet the head of the Parliamentary press corps as well as the Director of Public Affairs,” he added.

This was after the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, had expressed strong reservation about the failure of the Parliamentary press corps to cover the debate on the SONA on Tuesday.

By: Rashid Obodai Provencal

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