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Parliament ban of Graphic reporter outrageous – Elizabeth Ohene

Elizaberth OheneA former Education Minister under the erstwhile Kufuor administration says it is outrageous for Parliament to ban a reporter on the ground of alleged misreporting.

Elizabeth Ohene who worked as an editor and anchor for the BBC says the decision to ban the parliamentary correspondent of the Daily Graphic does not help journalism practice in Ghana.

“This is wrong because first you have to be allowed to make mistakes and secondly I am not sure the rules had been put out there,” she told Evans Mensah, host of Joy FM’s Ghana Connect programme, Friday.

Ghana’s legislature banned Daily Graphic reporter, Mark Anthony Vinorkor, for misreporting proceedings of the House.

He is said to have reported that the Constitutional Instrument (CI) 94, which was to change the election date had been withdrawn by Parliament and a new one is to be re-laid without the knowledge of some members of the House.

He further alleged that a new clause was smuggled into Article 44 of the CI 94 which details punitive measures for electoral officers who misbehave during the polls.

This angered Members of Parliament (MPs) with special mention of the Deputy Minority leader, Dominic Nitiwul, who questioned the rationale behind the misreporting.

He claimed the demeanour of the reporter after he was summoned to response to questions regarding his report was everything but remorseful.

This led to the withdrawal of the accreditation of the reporter and the newspaper given the opportunity to appoint a replacement.

Commenting on the issue, the former BBC Focus on Africa and Daily Graphic editor said Parliament could have adopted a less punitive measure than what it slammed on the journalist.

According to her, the last thing national institutions should be doing is to be seen fighting journalists and their practice.

She says it is the duty of journalists to constantly interrogate the status quo and whoever disagrees with their reporting should clarify and not punish or antagonise them.

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