Speaker threatens to punish journos who cover pressers while Parliament is in session

Speaker of Parliament, Prof Mike Ocquaye, has threatened members of the Parliamentary Press Corp with sanctions if they leave the chamber to cover press conferences held by members of either side of the House while proceedings are ongoing.

The stern threat by the Speaker follows a complaint by the Majority leader Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu on the floor of the House, Wednesday.

The Majority Leader had criticised the media for not staying in the chamber when New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs debated the State of the Nation Address (SONA), but instead attended a briefing by Ellembelle MP, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, on the SONA.

“The media are accredited to come and cover proceedings in the Chamber, any group or caucus that may want to engage the press could do so…but it must be before the start of proceedings in the chamber.

“If proceedings are going on in the Chamber and you are accredited to cover the Chamber you can’t leave the Chamber at the beck and call of an intruder Member of Parliament to cover that Member of Parliament,” the Majority Leader said.

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, backed the Majority Leader’s concerns and urged the media to be guided.

Giving his final comment on the matter, Speaker, Prof. Mike Ocquaye, urged the media to remember that they are just guests of the House.

He said press accreditation to cover Parliamentary business could be withdrawn if the journalists fail to heed his warning.

He said the permission given journalists to cover proceedings in the House must be held in high esteem, hence they cannot go outside the Chamber itself and do some other work other than cover proceedings in the Chamber.

Meanwhile, the threat by the Speaker has been described by some members of the press as an affront on press freedom.

MYJOYONLINE.COM

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