The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has condemned statements by the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Ocquaye which threatened to revoke accreditation of the Parliamentary Press Corps.
The leadership of Ghana’s parliament on Wednesday threatened to make journalists unwanted guests in the house if they failed to channel their reportage in the interest of the House.
The development follows the displeasure of the Speaker over journalists’ failure to cover the debate on the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).
However, the President of GJA, Mr Affail Monney, in a statement on Thursday, it described the threat as unfortunate and affront to media and free speech.
“We recognize and respect Parliament’s powers to regulate coverage of proceedings of the House for purposes of security, order and space. However, journalists cannot be denied accreditation for “arbitrary or content-based criteria,” it said.
It added “In the public interest, journalists’ access to the House cannot be deemed as a privilege but a necessity to enable them report to the people what their elected representatives are up to – be it during official proceedings or any other activity in the House that are matters of great public interest.”
The statement further explained “It is not for nothing that our forebears dedicated a whole chapter (Chapter 12) in the 1992 Constitution to media freedom. Article 162(4) of the 1992 Constitution was designed to insulate the media from control or interference in the performance of their duty.”
GJA also announced it will not hesitate to take any and every action, including legal recourse, to vindicate and reaffirm the freedoms and independence of the media should this unhealthy threat or admonition resurface in future.