Information Blackout: Nigerian Newspapers Protest Against NPC, NBC Acts Amendment

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Newspapers in Nigeria on Monday, protested against the amendment of the Nigerian Press Council (NPC) and Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Acts by the National Assembly.

VANTAGE NEWS reports that the newspapers protested on their front pages with the same message, “INFORMATION BLACKOUT” boldly written as banner headlines.

The tabloids also have the following messages accompanying the banner headlines: “This is what the National Assembly wants to achieve with the NPC and NBC (Media) amendment Bills.

“It’s not just against the media…it’s about society’s right to know, your right to be heard.”

Information Blackout: Nigerian Newspapers Protest Against NPC, NBC Acts Amendment - Vantage News Nigeria

The Nigerian Guild of Editors had in a statement in June, argued that bills are actually criminalising journalism practice in the country despite the sponsors of the bills claiming that the amendments were geared towards moderating the ‘recklessness of the media.’

“At a time there is a popular ongoing global conversation about the need for a #NewDealForJournalism”, for immediate and sustained action from, and collaboration between governments and other influential actors to improve the policy, funding, and enabling environment for independent professional journalism, we see the proposed laws as unhelpful.

“While we are not opposed to an Act that will promote media stakeholders-driven regulatory council, the many draconian provisions in the Odebunmi Olusegun-sponsored bills are actually aimed at criminalising media practice in Nigeria.

“While the intention of the sponsor of the bills is suspicious, the bills negate all known features of media regulatory bodies in the world,’’ the Guild said.

The Guild stated further that “While the proposed NPC Act says the Board shall consist of one representative each from the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ); Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE); Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN); Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON); Ministry of Information; two representatives of the general public, one of whom shall be a legal practitioner and a woman and Executive Secretary of the council, who shall serve as the secretary to the Board, the board is a mere advisory body.

“The Bill also says that the Chairman of the Board shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Minister in charge of Information.

“And that all other members of the Board shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation by the Minister of Information. The intention of this kind of Council is suspicious.’’

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