Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has said he is surprised the parliamentary press corps and the media in Ghana are demanding an apology from the Speaker of Parliament and the leadership of the house for warning to strip them of their media accreditation if they do not put a stop to abandoning parliamentary sittings to cover press conference organised by individual MPs or caucuses.
The Speaker’s threat came on the back of a complaint from the Majority Leader to the effect that journalists abandoned proceedings in the house and gave audience to the Member of Parliament for Ellembele, Emmanuel Armah Buah, who addressed the media on the energy sector vis-à-vis the State of the Nation Address delivered by President Akufo-Addo, an address the minority boycotted.
Delivering his ruling on Wednesday, 26 February 2020, the Speaker indicated that he would not hesitate to declare journalists as strangers to Parliament if due coverage is not given to the proceedings of plenary.
“It is forbidden”, he said, adding: “If they have any doubt to abandon the permission given them to cover proceedings in this House and go outside the Chamber itself and do some other work…I want to let the media know”.
“If that which is reported to have happened should happen again, 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attaches to the MP profession, any such humiliation will make you an unwelcome guest and your welcome will be duly withdrawn.”
Several media organisations, civil society groups and the parliamentary press corps have condemned the Speaker’s comments and demanded an apology from him as well as the leadership of the house.
However, at a meeting with the press corps and the leadership of the house on Thursday, 27 February 2020, the Suame MP said: “I want to believe that growing up, whenever you did something that your father considered irresponsible and scolded you, you demanded an apology from your father. I am really flabbergasted by this attitude because I have taken pains to explain to you what really transpired”.
“For you to tell him to apologise to you for telling you the rules of the game that we will subscribe to…for saying that we owe you an apology…respectfully, I don’t owe you an apology,” Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said.