The outgoing dean of the Parliamentary Press Corps, Andrew Edwin Arthur has called for the total independence of the press corps to ensure that it doesn’t operate directly under the Public Affairs Department of Parliament.
The appeal was made through the Speaker of Parliament Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye and the leadership of the house. Speaking at the swearing in of the newly elected executives of the Parliamentary Press Corps at the Speaker’s conference room in Parliament on Friday, Andrew Edwin Arthur stated, “We need an independent press corps that can serve as watchdog over the activities of the house and partner the leadership and the institution to deepen parliamentary democracy and good governance in this country.”
He complained that the current arrangement where the corps has to operate completely through the Public Affairs Department is problematic. He also requested for a scholarship scheme to support members of the press corps interested in improving themselves academically, after which they could be bonded to serve Parliament.
He also touched on the Media Development Fund that was set up in 2010 to help build the professional capacity of journalists in the country and how it is being utilised. Interestingly no individual or organization has publicly admitted benefiting from the fund. The outgoing dean therefore asked Parliament to find out how out how the fund is being disbursed so that organised press groups like the Parliamentary Press Corps can benefit from the fund.
The Speaker and leadership of Parliament also assured the press corps of their support. The Speaker Prof. Mike Oquaye also advised the press to be professional in their reportage. Nana Agyemang Birikorang of The Ghanaian Observer has been elected as new dean of the Parliamentary Press Corps.