Don’t engage in Speculative Journalism – Majority Leader tells Journalists

Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has charged Members of the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC) to desist from speculative journalism since it does not do anybody any good.

He maintained that such speculative journalism rather puts the country on fire. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu gave this advice on Tuesday at a press briefing in Parliament.

According to him, when he was leaving the Chamber of the House on Tuesday afternoon, a group of Journalists met him and sought to get some explanation on an issue. One of them had gone viral with a false information that two Members of Parliament (MPs) and 13 staff of the Parliamentary Service had tested positive for COVID-19 following a test that had been carried out in the House last week.

While debunking the report, the Leader charged the reporter in question to retract the report since it had not only “put the nation on fire”, but has also inconvenienced all. He also charged members of the PPC to be conscious of their reportage.

According to him, reports on the testing will be held with confidentiality. He pointed out that the testing is meant for the good of workers and non-workers at the place, including journalists and that, such spurious reports will dissuade people from offering themselves for voluntary testing.

Resident Doctor at Parliament House, Dr. Prince Pambo noted that Parliament wanted to know the status of MPs and workers at the place and it was against this background that they deemed it fit to bring the National Testing Team on Covid-19 there to carry out the tests. He said the process has protocols, and that the results will not be disclosed to Parliament as an institution, but will be dealt with between a victim and the testing institution.  However, the testing institution will liaise with the Parliament for the necessary assistance to locate such victims.

Acting Clerk to Parliament, Cyril Nsiah pointed out that Parliament wanted to know the status of all who frequently go there for various reasons, hence the need to encourage all staff and MPs for the voluntary testing exercise. Subsequently, he said all journalists who want to continue reporting from the House should submit themselves for tesingas well. The testing which has now become mandatory per a directive from the Speaker is expected to continue on Thursday and Friday. He said the report on the test including those of journalists in Parliament will be kept secret and their names would not be published.

The Director of Public Affairs of Parliament, Kate Addo, who moderated the conference expressed misgivings about the publication of a false information that had gone viral. She charged whoever was responsible to have it retracted at the earliest possible time. Though no name was mentioned, Kate indicated that it was carried out by an Accra-based FM Station.

While stating that it had caused much damage to the image of the House, the Public Affairs Director charged the station in question to retract the story, stressing that her office is open to all to come for elucidation on issues before going public.

By S. O. Ankamah ||





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