Attempt To Gag The Press Will Be Fatal To Our Democracy - Haruna Iddrisu

The Minority Leader, Hon Haruna Iddrisu, has said that any attempt to gag the press will be fatal to the democracy of the country.

He has, therefore, urged the press Corps to carry out their duties in Parliament without any fear or favour.

He gave the assurance on Thursday morning when the Majority Leader Hon Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, the Minority and the Director of Public Affairs of Parliament Ms. Kate Addo met the Parliamentary Press Corps to discuss the Speaker's directive following the abandoning of the press gallery on Tuesday 25th February by the press corps whilst proceedings of Parliament was ongoing in the chamber.

"Any attempt to gag the press will be fatal to the democracy of the country. Carry out your duties in Parliament without any worry.

"Parliament needs the active collaboration of the media in the performance of its duties. He said Parliament will always protect the interest of the media," he stated.

In a related development, the Dean of Parliamentary Press Corps, Nana Agyeman has described as unfortunate the comment by the Speaker, Rt Hon Mike Oquaye threatening to label journalists as unwanted guests.

"I thought the issue was solved yesterday after he spoke with the majority side of the House but just to hear the issue on the floor and the Speaker's directive was threatening," he decried.

Explaining further, he said they did not abandon proceedings on the floor totally because after some few minutes after their engagement, they came back to the press gallery.

Nana Agyeman was unhappy with the directive indicating that they normally receive a memo from the Public Affairs Director to cover courtesy calls while proceedings are ongoing.

The Speaker of Parliament summoned the Dean of Parliamentary Press Corps and the Director of Public Affairs of Parliament over the conduct of journalists 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 State of the Nation Address.

Speaking on the floor of the House the Speaker indicated that he will not hesitate to declare journalists as strangers to parliament if due coverage is not given to the proceeding of the House.

"It is forbidden if they have any doubt to abandoned the permission given them to cover proceeding in this honorable 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..."