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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Supporting the Clerk of Parliament on Press Gallery Reconstitution – Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden is Way-way Off-Track

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Supporting the Clerk of Parliament on Press Gallery Reconstitution – Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden is Way-way Off-Track

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By Ahmed Sahid Nasralla

The ‘Kongosa’ and shameless remarks by politician Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden in support of the decision of the Administration of the Sierra Leone Parliament to reconstitute the Parliamentary Press Gallery with an interim executive body is overwhelmingly off-track, SLAJ President Ahmed Sahid Nasralla says.

Blyden has ignorantly commented on an issue that her stethoscope couldn’t capture the sounds of the heart of the matter, and so hurriedly posted tirades against the Honourable President of SLAJ (mek Parliament cam hol me now) and Institution stands accused of being on the wrong side on the said prolonged issue.

Below is a verbatim write-up of Honourable Nasralla exposing the illiteracy of Dr. Blyden who seems to be adrift in shenanigans against the President of the country’s supreme professional media body.

“Now, you all know I am a great fan of wannabe and attention-seeking politician Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden because she is a woman who is always ready to confront challenges but insofar as the issue of the PPG is concerned, we have to understand that she is rather very incorrect on her comment on this issue.

“Yes, indeed, Journalists are only allowed to cover Parliament on the terms and conditions of the Speaker of Parliament AND NOBODY ELSE. Not even the self-acclaimed Speaker of the House PARAN PARAN (ha! ha! ha!). But there is a limit to those ‘Terms’ and ‘Conditions’.

Parliament is our House of representatives; in other words, they are the people’s elected SERVANTS! They are there because we put them there. To serve us, not themselves or their egos. And the media is the Fourth Arm of Government, and that gallery in which the journalists sit in Parliament is the Fourth Estate of the Realm.

Sylvia says:“In that respect, coverage of Parliamentary Sittings is uniquely different from the coverage of Judiciary sittings.”

RESPONSE: Who says they are the same? (Ha! Ha! Ha!). I only referenced the Judiciary because I am very impressed with the way they relate with court reporters, and SLAJ as the umbrella media body in the country, and I thought I should encourage the Sierra Leone Parliament to learn from them.

Sylvia says:              

“I urge you all to pay attention to Standing Orders 79 and 80 especially SO80. All journalists and members of the Press allowed at Parliament are enjoying the DISCRETION of the Speaker of Parliament. This is unfortunately what the Law says as the Standing Orders are subsidiary legislation created by the most powerful Law, the Sierra Leone Constitution.”

RESPONSE: Save us the lecture please, madam; lecturer PARAN PARAN is the one teaching us this module. And we understand him well. And what the law says cannot be UNFORTUNATE. The law is for you, and it’s for me. For Everyone.

Now, Madam guest lecturer on Parliamentary matters, let me enlighten you about the SOs you are claiming to understand and referencing like you are an MP of longstanding. These SOs only empower the Speaker of the House (not PARAN PARAN ha! ha!) to “grant a general permission to any journalist representing a (media house) to attend the sittings of Parliament under such rules as he (she) may make from time to time for that purpose…”

Are you telling me, or the public, that ‘granting permission to attend Parliamentary sittings…” extends to reconstituting an interim executive for a professional group of journalists who had organised themselves into an independent association to report the activities of Parliament? Please allow me to shake my head in disapproval.

My dear, simply put, and I am using extreme patience to explain this to you, ‘granting permission…’ is totally different from ‘reconstituting an interim executive’ for an independent professional body of journalists that are not under your employ or control or supervision.

Furthermore, this ‘granting powers’ of Parliament is also known as accreditation in some democracies, to further broaden your democratic knowledge. That is accrediting journalists who are assigned by their media houses to report Parliament; NOT selecting interim executives….

I don’t know which kind of system of governance you are aspiring to be President under but in this democracy we are practicing a professional journalist does not even need to be a member of a group like PPG to report Parliament. He or She only needs to present his credentials to Parliament and get a pass to go and sit in the reporters’ gallery. Why would Parliament deny any professional journalist permission to sit in the gallery anyway, if they don’t have anything to hide?

You may also want to ask yourself whether the members of the PPG are under the employ of Parliament. If they are not, which of course is the case, ‘how Parliament connect pa den bisness’?

What you should be doing as a former publisher of a newspaper, now a politician and a wannabe President of the Republic is to advise Parliament to turn their energy on their PR department and hands-off the affairs of the PPG. If Parliament now arrogates itself the responsibility to select executives for a professional body of reporters, how do they want to account to the people? Through the selected executive members?

Come on, we know you are not a fan of SLAJ but please do not try to steal this headline from us ok.

So be mindful of how you confront this issue. The Law is the Law and you should be careful how you interpret it when you are just a layperson.

By the way, I’m using my Office Media Assistant’s phone number to make this response. However, I don’t have time to check its PV so please direct all private messages to my direct line (076 470 288) and not this one. I am using this line as it is the number added in here and this response today is actually for our future President and all those who may want to swallow her ill-informed comments on an issue she doesn’t fully understand.

Cheers and God bless us all.”

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