A group of media practitioners denied access to Parliament


A group of media practitioners leading a stern campaign to get the Right to Information (RTI) Bill passed into law have been denied access to the public gallery of Parliament.


The group identified as Media Coalition on RTI decided to sit in the public gallery and mount pressure on the legislators of the House to pass the Bill but were prevented by the police due to their branded T-Shirt with the hash tag, PassRTINow.

The police unit at Parliament pointed out that an order was given by the House to prevent the coalition from entering the Chamber Block since it is against the Parliamentary Standing Orders for a group to invade Parliament with a branded T-Shirt purposely to mount pressure on Parliamentarians in the discharge of their duties.

The RTI BILL, 2018 has been in parliament for almost two decades although some Civil Society Organisations have called for the passage of the Bill.

Reaction from Public Affairs Directorate of Parliament

Speaking to the Director of Public Affairs of Parliament, Ms. Kate Addo in an interview, she stated that Parliament is a House of tradition and democracy and that, there are laid-down procedures that ought to be followed.

She explained that the coalition should have officially written to Parliament for notification before moving to the House.

She averred that it is against the Standing Orders of Parliament for a group to storm the public gallery with branded T-Shirt to interfere in proceedings or mount pressure on Parliamentarians on a topical issue.

“Parliament has its own rules. It is a House of tradition and democracy. There are procedures to follow. The coalition should have written to my department first, before coming to Parliament. It is accepted for a group to come to Parliament but the problem we have is the branded T-shirt. It is against the rules of the House”, she explained.

Ms. Addo however indicated that there is consultation between the Public Affairs Department and the coalition on their request for access to the public gallery.

“I have met with a member of the coalition and we hope to have a consultation with the media group on how best we can help to grant them access to the gallery”,she concluded.

The 1992 Constitution and the Right to Information

Right to information is a fundamental human right guaranteed by Ghana’s 1992 Constitution and recognised as a right under International Conventions on Human Rights (ICHR).

This right recognised in many international instruments is seen not just a facet of the right to freedom of speech and expression but also as a right that is necessary for the exercise of civil and political rights, socio-economic and cultural rights.

The RTI Bill, 2018 is grounded on Article 21 (1) (f) of the 1992 Constitution which states that ”all persons shall have the right to information subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary in a democratic society”.

The RTI Bill, 2018 and the Plenary

The Business Committee in presenting their report of the week to the Plenary proposed that the House should start in earnest with the Consideration Stage of the Right to Information (RTI) Bill, 2018 with the aim of completing its consideration before the introduction of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for the year 2019.

Chairman of the Business Committee and the Majority Leader, Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu has also promised that the House will finish work on the Bill before November 15, 2018.

The RTI Bill, 2018 should have been considered on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 according to the Order Paper of the Plenary, but it wasn’t.

Source: GhanaJustice/S.Ayisi


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here