The Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) in collaboration with Parliament House held a media confab for members of the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC) on Friday 21st December, 2018.
The programme was to educate members on the efficiency of Parliamentary reporting and offer opportunities to ask pertinent questions regarding the journalist’s work in the Legislature and was chaired by Madam Kate Addo, Ag. Director of the Public Affairs Department.
Addressing the journalists, Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, observed that Parliament and the media need to protect each other to ensure good governance and democracy.
Journalists and politicians, she indicated, are bedfellows and share enlightening self-interest and the first institutions to fall victim whenever there is disruption in democratic governance.
She said, “There is enlightening self-interest between the media and the legislature to make sure democracy thrives because we do not fare well under undemocratic rule.”
Journalists, she said, cover parliament in furtherance of democratic good governance ideals and through their informational and watchdog roles offer citizens opportunity to participate in democracy.
“We can do that that if we cover Parliament in a robust and fair manner. We have to bring Parliament to the people on daily basis to entice them to respond to the House. If we do that we will then be deepening our democracy,” she stated.
She admitted that as important as reporting in Parliament is to the country, the duty comes with lots of challenges.
She stressed that relationship between the media and parliament cannot be legislated but there has to be a balance and as the watchdog of the House, a relationship of trust.
The obligation of how to report Parliament, she said, is not on the journalist alone because Parliament as an institution must facilitate the work of the media and also safeguard the independence of members of the Parliamentary Press Corps.
Professor Gadzekpo indicated that for the press corps to maintain its independence, however, members should not align to political party interests and urged journalists to rise above the limitation of parties and politicians to stay truly independent.
Dr. David Appiah of the WFD indicated that the Foundation has supported Parliament over the past years in research and information management for better information flow between the Legislature and the citizenry.
He indicated that the Foundation is keen to improve the Parliament-citizen engagement unit of the House namely the Public Affairs Department, over the next years and support its activities that readily provide relevant information to Ghanaians.
The Foundation, he said, is interested in the PPC highlighting the duties of MPs so their roles are better understood by citizens.
By Osumanu Al-Hassanfirstname.lastname@example.org