By Aji Fatou Faal
The West African Parliamentary Press Corps (WAPPC) recently conducted a two-day symposium and media summit in Ghana, Accra.
It was intended to equip journalists who cover parliaments within the region, with the skills and knowledge to discharge their duties with the strictest sense of professionalism. Organisers believed this will help strengthen good governance and parliamentary democracy in the region.
It was organised under the theme sustaining parliamentary democracy in the West African sub-Region, the role of the media.
Andrew Edwin Arthur, president of WAPPC, said collaboration among journalists from across Parliaments in the region would facilitate the cross pollination of ideas and best known practices among their legislative bodies which would go a long way to improving the status of parliamentary democracy and enhance the quest to achieve regional integration.
He urged corporate bodies, governments, parliaments and others to support the activities of the Corps in capacity building initiatives and trainings.
WAPPC aims to consolidate and capacitise parliamentary reporters across the region to enhance integration.
The Secretary General of Ecowas Parliament, John Azumah, pledged his support towards activities of the press corps, promising to draw the attention of decision-makers in the regional.
Chairman of the National Peace Council, Prof Emmanuel Asante, who chaired the opening ceremony, emphasised the need for the media to be equipped with the requisite skills and knowledge 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.
Participants were drawn from seven parliaments in the sub-region including The Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso and Ghana.
Other dignitaries include 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’s Parliament, Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu; James Klutse Avedzi and the Majority Chief Whip of Ghana, Akwasi Ameyaw Kyeremeh.
The media summit session was preceded by a Symposium on the need to deepen democracy within the West African sub-Region as an essential pre-requisite for growth and development.