As part of promoting equitable governance of the local level and radio broadcasting, GCRN organized a 3 day parliamentary journalism workshop to equip its member stations with the requisite skills for following parliamentary debates and to bring to their listeners proceedings from parliament.
The 3 day workshop outlined three basic aims which were to give the participants:
- the requisite knowledge for parliamentary journalism and an increasing number of journalists covering parliamentary news
- to equip participants with the requisite tools/skills following parliamentary debates and
- to strengthen the level of monitoring activities in parliament.
There were nine participating radio stations in all, they were made up seven on air Community Radio Stations namely, Radio Ada, Radio Breezy, Radio Dayi, Radio Emashie, Radio Peace, Radio Progress, Radio Royals. The remaining two stations were Radio Universe a Campus Radio station on the University of Ghana, Legon Campus and one Community Radio Initiative Radio Gamashie in Jamestown.
The workshop was facilitated by Rev. Mrs. Ruby Amable, the immediate past dean of Ghana’s parliamentary press corps and a retired broadcaster, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation and GCRN’s senior facilitator and lead trainer, Mr. Kofi Larweh.
Prior to the opening session of the workshop participants shared what their expectation of the outcome workshop. Their expectations were centered on getting equipped with the basic skills to help them understand and cover parliamentary news better.
The participants were given a background on the basics of parliamentary journalism which included who a parliamentary journalist is and why parliamentary journalism was necessary.
They were also introduced to:
- the constitution of the republic of Ghana,
- the standing orders of parliament: which lays out the rules for the procedures of the house.
- the Hansard: is the verbatim report of the day to day proceedings on the floor of the house and offers ready source of reference to a reporter.
- vote and proceedings; this a summary record of previous day’s sitting that is corrected at the beginning of each day’s business.
Participants had the opportunity to visit the parliament house to have a feel at firsthand how parliamentary proceedings are conducted. They also had the opportunity to n what interact with some journalist covering parliament as well as some essential staff of parliament.
At the end of day 3 participants were able write reports on parliamentary proceedings. They also shared their experiences after the workshop and some had this to say:
“Parliamentary reporting has served as eye opener to me, also it’s a new way of reporting news especially parliamentary news”- Kwame Anamoah, Radio Peace, Winneba “I have also learnt that in the house when the maze is standing straight means rules are been followed but if it’s bent then there some liberty in the house”- Khadija, Radio Universe, University of Ghana, Legon
“Showing emotions in the parliament is not acceptable and one could be sent out of the house. If this happens, it could also go into the Hansard and that can affect ones future”- Torgbui Tatza V, Radio Dayi, Anfoega.
The parliamentary journalism workshop was organized under the Women, Media and Governance (WoMeGov) Project of the Panos Institute West Africa (PIWA) in partnership with Ghana Community Radio Network