The Speaker of the House Halson Moultrie. (File photo)
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
HOUSE Speaker Halson Moultrie yesterday reconstituted a new Rules Committee to address matters regarding parliamentary procedure specifically members' ability to read into the House record information from social media.
Bamboo Town MP Renward Wells, St Anne's MP Brent Symonette and Jeffrey Lloyd - South Beach MP represents the governing side.
Opposition members of Parliament on the committee include Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador MP Philip "Brave" Davis and Picewell Forbes, Mangrove Cay and South Andros MP.
Mr Moultrie said: "Their task would be to review the rules and to consider matters that were not contemplated in this existing rule, particularly matters as it relates to social media and members being permitted to read into the records of Parliament information that they may be able to glean while on their feet from their cell phone.
"Those matters in particular are to be addressed in the new review of the rules."
While it is unclear whether this is associated with Centreville MP Reece Chipman's motion last month to establish a select committee to investigate fake news, it underscores the potential of social media to influence the country's affairs at the parliamentary level.
Mr Chipman was last year a victim of social media rumours that some characterised as fake news.
He also called for a select committee on whether the country is maximising its natural resources.
In the House last month he said: "At this stage in The Bahamas I believe it is important for us as Bahamians and for our children, those that are unborn, to identify with the spirit of sovereignty. The first motion would be for a select committee to investigate deliberate online falsehoods, nowadays termed fake news which has an indirect way of impacting and directing our culture. The committee will take submissions from the public and hold public hearings to gather feedback before reporting to the Parliament.
"There is a high risk of fake news that interferes even with our main economic engine and industry such as tourism and financial services. Disseminating these falsehoods, particularly if its done covertly, attacks the very heart of democracy by preventing constructive discourse."
Parliament must unanimously support the establishment of a select committee, according to law, for it to be established.