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Newspaper Proprietors Association protests exclusion from public hearing on Nigerian Press Council bill

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The Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN), has expressed displeasure over its exclusion from today Thursday’s public hearing on the Nigerian Press Council (NPC) Amendment Bill at the National Assembly.

Describing the development as shocking, NPAN contended that as a stakeholder in the media industry, it was unbelievable that the body would not be invited to participate in the public hearing at the Senate.

In a statement signed by NPAN president, Mr Kabiru A. Yusuf, the association said “we received with surprise, news of a public hearing scheduled for today, Thursday, June 17, 2021, on the Nigerian Press Council (NPC) Amendment Bill.”

According to the statement, “going by available information, the hearing had initially been scheduled for yesterday, Wednesday, June 16, along with four other media related bills. As a stakeholder in the Nigerian media space, we don’t understand why print media owners have not been invited to participate in the hearing.

This is contrary to earlier practice when the NPAN was invited to a public hearing on the same bill in the last Senate. This time around, we find it strange that we would get to know of this development by sheer happenstance.”

It called on the leadership of the National Assembly, the House of Representatives in particular, to redress this anomaly. With the public hearing now delayed by a day, the NPAN will endeavor to show up, even without a formal invitation.”

The Nigerian Press Council Act Cap N128 LFN 2004, was first enacted in 1992, and it established the Nigerian Press Council. The aim of the council is to, among other things:

  • Promote high professional standards for the Nigerian press
  • Deal with complaints from the public about the conducts of journalists
  • Deal with complaints from journalists about the conduct of persons or organisations towards the press.

The new law, if passed will provide that “only a person who has a first degree, Higher National Diploma (HND) in Journalism, Media Art or Communication, or postgraduate certificate shall practise as a journalist.”

The bill, which passed second reading in February 2021, will also increase punishments and fines for untrained journalists.

For persons with a first degree in other courses, the new bill will demand that they obtain a postgraduate certificate in Journalism, Media Art, Communication or related field from any other higher institution in Nigeria or elsewhere.

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