NBC Amendment Bill: No Plans To Gag The Press, Says Senate

June 21, 2021
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The Senate has assured that it is not possible for anyone including the 9th National Assembly to attempt to stiffen the press freedom in Nigeria.

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The Red Chamber said the current efforts by the House of Representatives to amend the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Act and other relevant laws should not be misconstrued as an attempt to gag freedom of speech and free press in the country.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Senator Ajibola Basiru, stated this on the sidelines of a two-day capacity-building training for media aides to the presiding and principal officers of the National Assembly, organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) in Abuja on Monday.

Basiru, however, said while freedom of speech is an inalienable right of the people and effectively captured in the 1999 Constitution, there is the need to ensure that some regulations are put in place to prevent reckless and irresponsible use of such rights as has been exhibited by a few media establishments and individuals in recent times in the country.

The Senate spokesperson said the current attempt to amend the NBC Act and the Press Council Act was to improve and sanitise the media space and not to stiffen people’s rights.

Also, the director-general of NILDS, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, corroborated Basiru’s position when he said there was the urgent need to provide some level of check on what he called “a culture of misinformation” under the guise of freedom of speech.

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Meanwhile, in a paper presentation titled: ‘Communication with Tact and Diplomacy’, a political science lecturer from Igbinadion University, Okada, Edo State, Professor Adeolu Akande, emphasised the need for media aides to master the act of communicating and convincing their audience without generating unnecessary controversies that could further complicate matters for their principals.

LEADERSHIP reports that the training workshop for the media aides is the latest in the series of similar capacity building exercises organised by NILDS for legislative workers in Nigeria.

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