The press erred – Haruna Iddrisu jumps to the defence of Speaker of Parliament

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Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, has dismissed suggestions that the Speaker of the House, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, is trying to gag the media from performing their duties.

According to Haruna Iddrisu, the Speaker was spot on with his message indicating that the directive from him only sought to caution both Members of Parliament and the press on their conduct during parliamentary sessions.

To this extent, he intimated that the press corps erred in alleging that the Speaker had threatened to dictate to them what they should cover as news when they come to Parliament.

The Speaker, on Wednesday, advised press corps to focus on parliamentary proceedings when sessions are ongoing instead of moving out to attend press briefings organised by MPs in the course of a sitting.

This did not go down well with some media personnel who interpreted the Speaker’s concern to be a ruling on the floor of the House.

“The Office would like to put on record that at no time either in his capacity as Speaker or in his personal capacity has Prof Aaron Michael Oquaye sought to prevent the media from doing its work,” a press release issued by Kate Addo, Parliament’s Public Affairs Director clarified.

Interacting with the press after a meeting on Thursday between the Speaker and, leadership of the House and the Press Corps, Haruna Iddrisu stressed that the situation was avoidable but blamed it on the media’s failure to accurately understand the Speaker’s perspective.

He stated, “I don’t think there is any attempt by parliament as an institution or its leaders to gag the press and therefore don’t misconstrue and don’t misinterpret the directives of Right Honourable speaker to that effect. What he sought to do probably was to advise that whiles we are in session, focus on considering matters within the chamber and that the various caucuses can hold their press briefing and press engagement before sitting and outside sitting.

“It does not tie your hands at all, and there is no intention to tie your hands. Whilst you are in the chamber if any matter is of interest to you, you are free to cover it. This was avoidable in my opinion and you probably misconstrued the speaker’s guidance,” the Minority Leader added.


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