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Twumasi-Appiah Blasts Journalists
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Felix Twumasi-Appiah, Chairman of the Joint Committee on Communications and Constitution, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs last Friday vented his spleen on some journalists in parts of the country for allegedly failing to cover the public hearings on the Right to Information Bill organized by his outfit.

Hon Twumasi-Appiah did not mince words when he castigated journalists in the Ashanti, Eastern and other regions who covered the joint committee’s public hearings for allegedly refusing to file the stories.

The chairman of the Joint Committee, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Sene in the Brong Ahafo region, made these statements after a journalist questioned the committee members as to why the Right to Information Bill was silent on fostering media freedom.

According to the questioner, since the Bill sought to kick against misinformation, it should have focused on how to promote media freedom.

Without answering the question, the Sene MP expressed disgust about the fact that since the Joint Committee started the public hearings, none of the media houses, both public and private, had reported on the activities of the Committee in the regions the members toured even though the media were present.

“In fact, we started these public hearings about 10 days ago and wherever we have been the journalists were there in their numbers, but I haven’t seen the stories in either the front pages or the centre-spread in any of the newspapers or even on GTV,” he indicated.

He explained that the right to information bill was a fundamental human right guaranteed by the constitution and recognized as a right by international conventions on human rights.

In his welcome address, the Western Regional Minister, Paul Evans Aidoo noted that information sharing is the most democratic medium that gives more access to individuals.

He said the Bill has the potential to safeguard and promote democracy and stressed the need to mobilize more support for the passage of the bill. He indicated that access to information encourages citizens to take active part in governance and contribute meaningfully to any development agenda.

“With the passage of the Bill it should not be difficult to know the number of policemen and women or teachers employed by Ghana Education Service. This information should be available even at the receptions of their respective establishment,” he added.

During the open forum, most of the participants called for the reduction of the 21 working days stipulated for the processing of an application by an information officer before information is given out.

Source: Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi

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