By SL Parliament Media Unit…..

It was a two-day workshop supported by UNDP for members of the press gallery to enhance their capacity to effectively and accurately report on the proceedings of Parliament.

It spanned from 10-11 August 2021.

Some of the topics include historical overview of Parliament, understanding relevant sections in the Constitution and the Standing Orders of Parliament, ethical reporting, media law and ethics, independent reporting etc.

Pursuant to provisions in the 1991 Constitution and the Standing Orders of Parliament, the Clerk of Parliament, Hon. Dr. Paran Umar Tarawally had said among other things that the Parliamentary Press Gallery is a creature of Parliament, an expansion of its new membership to include all staff of the Public Relations Department, Journalists who are members of SLAJ, freelancers and interested MPs who had worked as journalists, including independent journalists.

Save for freelancers and independent journalists, journalists who come to report on parliamentary proceedings are assigned by their media houses to do so in order to provide public information on the operations of Parliament.

Reporting from the gallery is a parliamentary privilege pursuant to Section 103 of the 1991 Constitution to report on the proceedings of Parliament devoid of malice or otherwise in want of good faith. Standing Order 80 provides for the Hon. Speaker to grant a general permission to the press to report on the proceedings of Parliament and may make rules from time to time in respect of same. Where such rules are contravened, such permission granted by Mr Speaker could be revoked or withdrawn.

The two days workshop was described as highly successful and the interim executive of the gallery had promised to hold election in due course, called for continued capacity building, provision of office space, opportunities to report overseas engagements by Parliament, funding to do education on bills passed by Parliament among others.

Copyright: Department of Public Relations (Parl. of Sierra Leone).

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