Author NPO says press council bill is like Decree No. 4 of 1984  (Read 78 times)

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NPO says press council bill is like Decree No. 4 of 1984



Professional bodies and pressure groups in the media industry have expressed strong opposition to a bill at the Senate seeking to repeal and re-enact the law establishing the Nigerian Press Council.

The media bodies, under the auspices of the Nigerian Press Organisation, described the legislation as illegal, alleging that the bill was meant to criminalise journalism.

The organisation’s position was stated in a presentation by the President of the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria and President of the NPO, Mr Nduka Obaigbena, at a public hearing held in Abuja on Monday by the Senate Committee on Information and National Orientation on the bill.

The bill seeks to establish an Act to repeal the Nigeria Press Council Act 1992 (as amended) and to enact the Nigerian Press Council Act 2018.

But the media industry stakeholders asked the Senate to step down the bill in the presentation jointly signed by Obaigbena for the NPO and NPAN; President, Nigeria Guild of Editors, Funke Egbemode; President, Nigerian Union of Journalists, Waheed Odusile; and Chairman, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, John Momoh.

Other signatories are the Director, international Press Centre, Lanre Arogundade; Executive Director, lnstitute for Media and Society, Akin Akingbulu; and Director, Media Law Centre, Richard Akinnola.

In the presentation, Obaigbena said the consensus on the bill was reached at a meeting of member organisations and media stakeholders on July 19, 2018.

Obaigbena said the NPO resolved that “the bill should be dropped forthwith until the determination of a similar case in the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

“That the Nigerian Senate should borrow from best practices in other jurisdictions that have expressly provided for and guaranteed press freedom without any form of government interference.

“That the Senate and indeed the National Assembly should enable the media in the exercise of its constitutional obligations as spelt out in Section 22 by passing laws that will promote transparency, accountability and open government such as mandatory delivery of the ‘State of the Nation’ address by the president and ‘State of the State’ address by governors on specified days of the year.”



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Offline Isaac Adeniran

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Re: NPO says press council bill is like Decree No. 4 of 1984
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2018, 02:26:54 AM »
Obaigbena said the NPO further resolved to urge the Senate to make it mandatory for presidential and governorship candidates to participate in debates before elections, as well as “complete transparency in election funding, including public declaration of sources of election finance by all candidates and political parties, and ensuring the integrity of our electoral process.”

He added that the meeting also noted the fact that a law suit instituted by the Nigerian Press Organisation on the same subject matter as of the bill was pending at the Supreme Court.

Obaigbena stated, “Consequent upon the above, the meeting observed and resolved as follows: The proposed bill is unconstitutional as it runs against the principles and tenets of the rule of law and is actually sub judice, given that a case on the subject-matter is still pending in the highest court of the land – the Supreme Court – in view of which the bill should not have been drafted in the first instance.

“That the bill is, for all intents and purposes, draconian and anti-press freedom being an amalgamation of the obnoxious Public Officers Protection Against False Accusation Decree No. 4 of 1984 and the Newspapers Registration Decree 43 of 1993, both vestiges of the dark days of military rule and, therefore, incurably and irreparably bad, being also inconsistent with values of our democratic society.

“That the bill seeks to criminalise journalism practice despite the fact the laws of the country already have enough provisions and avenues for seeking legal redress; that the bill smacks of an attempt at undue interference in the operations of the media in Nigeria as businesses registered under the relevant laws of the federation; and that the bill seeks for the Nigeria Press Council to usurp the powers of the courts by assuming extra-judicial powers.”

Declaring the event open, the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, who was represented by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi-Abdullahi, had described the existing law as obsolete and a relic of military rule.

Saraki said, “The bill under consideration today is for an Act to repeal the extant law and to re-enact one in keeping with democratic principles. The current law was a creation of military rule which sought to exercise a heavy-handed clampdown on the activities of the press. No doubt, this led to a considerable degree of disenchantment among the key stakeholders, particularly journalists, leading to protracted litigation and other implications, which have impeded the effectiveness of the NPC.

“All stakeholders agree that this state of affairs cannot subsist in our current democracy, and that a re-booted agency is needed these times. It is in order to cast off the vestiges of military era approach to the media that we have drafted the new bill.”


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Re: NPO says press council bill is like Decree No. 4 of 1984
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2018, 02:26:54 AM »


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