#National News

Hon. Sallah frowns as Assembly impedes journalists

Sep 15, 2020, 12:08 PM | Article By: Sankulleh Gibril Janko

The National Assembly Member (NAM) for Serekunda, Hon. Halifa Sallah has expressed his dissatisfaction over the National Assembly’s action of not allowing access to some journalists to cover the tabling of the Draft Constitution, saying the act could put the integrity of the parliament at stake.

Scores of journalists traveled to the Chambers in Banjul only to be told that only the National Broadcaster GRTS and two other private media houses, QTV and Eye Africa TV were allowed entry to the House for proceedings.

The veteran Serekunda lawmaker who walked into the chambers late due to his efforts to help the journalists, said it was not proper for journalists to be denied access to the chambers to do their job.

“Honourable speaker the reason I even entered just now is because outside we have journalists claiming that the National Assembly has discriminated them by giving a right to certain media houses to cover the sessions of the National Assembly especially the state media and then discriminated against the private media.”

He continued: “And Honourable Speaker the National Human Rights Commission is established precisely to eradicate violations of fundamental rights and we should not allow this National Assembly to be associated with any history that will show that we are discriminating anyone.”

“So Honourable Speaker I’ll want to make a motion that the decision that has been made to be annulled and another decision to be made by you right away to allow those media houses outside the gate to come in and we place them wherever they should in order to be able to observe the distancing that is necessary,” he said.

“If we fail to do that Honourable Speaker, the integrity of this National Assembly will be questioned.”

The speaker, however, acknowledged Hon. Sallah’s concerns but claimed it would be unfair for him to force her to make that decision at that point in time leading to her rejecting the motion. She, however, assured the matter would be looked into.

Other media houses expressed anger for what they claimed is prejudicial of the parliament towards them by preventing them to cover proceedings of the tabling of the 2020 Draft Constitution.