MEMORANDUM ON THE NPC ACT AMENDMENT BILL

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Submitted to:


THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON INFORMATION, NATIONAL ORIENTATION, ETHICS AND VALUES
On The Proposed Bill For An Act to Amend The Nigerian Press Council Act

TITLE: FOR A TRULY INDEPENDENT & MEDIA FREEDOM FRIENDLY NIGERIA PRESS COUNCIL
By:
International Press Centre (IPC)

Media Rights Agenda (MRA)

Centre for Media Law and Advocacy (CMLA)

Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ)

Correspondences:
C/O, IPC, House 11, Dideolu Court, Dideolu Estate, By First Bank, Off Ijaiye Road, Ogba, Lagos.
Tel: +2348114503887
Email: admin@ipcng.org
Presented at:
The Public Hearing on a Bill For an Act to amend the Nigerian Press Council Act. Cap N128, June 17, 2021

A. INTRODUCTION
In 2021, the year of the 30th anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration on an Independent and Pluralistic African Media, the expectation is that Nigeria will embark on legislative paths that help to expand the frontiers of press freedom through frameworks that strengthen the freedom and independence of the media to enhance its role in democracy.
Independent regulation free of political encumbrances is one of the channels to the process of such strengthening and it is in this regard that we are worried that the proposed amendment to the Nigeria Press Council Decree falls far short of these expectations and standards.


It is not that regulation is not necessary especially in this age of fake news and hate speech, but the point to stress is that regulations must be such that do nor erode media independence or freedom and are not unduly punitive. The regulator must also be free of the stranglehold of the powers that be, political or other interests, so that it can judiciously adjudicate in matters bothering on the infringement of the code of ethics of the profession of journalism.
Our observations and recommendations are based on our respective mandates but are informed by well-established norms and standards based on regional and international instruments and frameworks that are applicable to Nigeria.

The International Press Centre (IPC) is an independent, not-for-profit, and non-governmental media resource center established to facilitate the active role of the media in the development of Africa and particularly Nigeria.

The Media Rights Agenda (MRA) is established to promote a conducive environment for the exercise of the right to freedom of expression, press freedom and access to information by citizens including journalists.


The Centre for Media Law and Advocacy, is a non-governmental organisation, anchored on championing the right to Freedom of Expression, with a special focus on Media law training and advocacy.

The Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) builds journalists capacity to expose corruption and various abuse of power to give meaning to the constitutional obligation on the media to monitor governance and hold government accountable to the people.

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