A Two Day Symposium and Media Summit has been held by the West African Parliamentary Press Corps (WAPPC) to sensitize the public about the existence and the activities of the fraternity of journalists dedicated to the dissemination of information concerning the legislative arm of governments in the sub-region for the advancement of Parliamentary Democracy.
The maiden event which was under the auspices of the West African body (WAPPC) with the involvement of the Parliamentary Press Corps of Ghana, was held in Accra, the capital city of Ghana from the 9th to the 10th of July 2018.
Participants were drawn from almost all the countries in the West African sub-region including journalists from both Anglophone and Francophone parliaments such as Liberia, Sieraleone, Nigeria, Tanzania, Togo, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso among others.
The two day event was graced by very important personalities and stakeholders in the democratic space in the society including the Chairman of the National Peace Council, Prof. Emmanuel Asante, who served as the Chairman of the programme for the opening ceremony, and also the Secretary General of the ECOWAS Parliament, Mr. John Azumah.
The other dignitaries that graced the event with their presence included the Second Deputy Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Alban Sumana Bagbin; a Representative of the Nigerian Senator President, Senator Ben Murray Bruce; Ghana’s Information Minister, Dr. Mustapha Hamid; the Deputy Minority Leader of Ghana, James Kludze Avedzi and the Majority Chief Whip of Ghana, Akwasi Ameyaw Kyeremeh.
In his welcome address at the opening ceremony, the President of the West African Parliamentary Press Corps, Andrew Edwin Arthur indicated that the West African body aimed at consolidating the front of Parliamentary reporters across the West African sub-region to enhance integration and for the purposes of capacity building for members of the inky fraternity.
He observed that the collaboration among the journalists from across the Parliaments in the sub-region would facilitate the cross pollination of ideas and best known practices among their legislative bodies which would go a long way to improve the status of Parliamentary Democracy and enhance the quest to achieve the Sub-regional integration and ultimately the continental integration being yearned for since time immemorial by the African Union.
The WAPPC President therefore urged corporate bodies, governments, parliaments as well as the Sub-regional Parliamentary body; the ECOWAS Parliament to support the activities of the Corps for capacity building and training when the need arises since it is in the best interest of the society.
The Secretary General of the ECOWAS Parliament, Mr. John Azumah, in his solidarity message pledged his support for the activities of the Sub-regional Corps and promised to draw the attention of the decision makers at the Sub-regional Legislative body to invite members of the Corps to the sittings of ECOWAS Parliament to enhance the dissemination of its decisions to the public.
In his closing remarks, the Chairman of the National Peace Council, Prof. Emmanuel Asante, who doubled as the Chairman of the opening event, emphasized the need for the media to be equipped with the requisite skills and knowledge by any means possible for a progressive society. According to him, without a well-informed media, the society is bound to grope in darkness for a long time with very little to show for progress.
Some of the topics that were treated during the event includes: Paper on the Role of the Media in the Fight against Hate Speech, delivered by Dr. Kwasi Jonah from the Institute of Democratic Governance; and the Effective Parliamentary Reporting, a Tool for the Integration Agenda, delivered by Mr. Yaw Boadu Ayeboafo, General Manager of the Graphic Group of Communications.
The others include: Responsible Reportage as a means of Ensuring Peace and Security in West Africa – The Dos and Donts of the Parliamentary Reporter, delivered by Sulemana Braimah, Executive Secretary of the Media Foundation for West Africa; and the Media’s Role in Serving as Watchdogs to ensure Efficiency in the work of Parliament delivered by Dr. Rasheed Draman of ACEPA.
Source: Clement Akoloh/afriwakeradio.com