Dr Audrey Gadzekpo of the School of Communication Studies, University of Ghana has cautioned Members of Parliament against the use of the media to undo each other as ''it has afforded journalists alternate sources of information and proven an impetus for closer scrutiny of parliament, which is not a healthy practice.''
She rather suggested to them to develop and sustain genuine cordial relationships with Journalists through constant lunch get-togethers. To her, such informal interactions and motivation build relationship strengthens working relationships.
Dr. Gadzekpo was speaking on ''Media relations/Communication strategies'' for Chairpersons and their deputies of Parliamentary Committee at a two-day capacity building workshop for the leadership of Parliamentary Select Committees at Akosombo.
The workshop organized by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs in collaboration with the Ghana Center for Democratic Development, (CDD-Ghana) and Friedrich Nuamann Foundation aimed at strengthening the capacity and technocratic base of committees of Parliament.
It also reviewed the role of the chairpersons and leadership of Parliamentary Committees, deliberate on how to render Committees more proactive, strengthen agenda/priority setting and time management and also improve media relations and outreach to the public.
The former Clerk of Parliament, Mr S. N. Darkwa said the Committees performed important tasks, which all the 200 members could not effectively carry out in the chamber. He outlined some of the duties as scrutinizing bills and delegated legislation - statutory instruments in detail; examining government accounts to ensure value for money in respect of government expenditure; oversee the activities of the Executive in greater depth than in the House and to investigate issues and provide public contact.
Mr. Darkwa said the Constitution provided for the establishment of Standing Committees to which every member including Ministers must belong, as well as the formation of Select Committees that existed by virtue of the standing orders.
Members were selected from backbenchers. He said from time to time, the House also set up Ad Hoc Committees to consider a particular problem or a matter of public importance.
On the powers of Parliamentary Committees, the Former Clerk said they were circumscribed by the rules laid down in standing orders of the House and observed that the House at times was reluctant to allow Committees much scope or initiative to make inquiry into matters which had not been referred to it.
Source: Network Herald