NEWSPAPER publishers, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, Editors and Nigeria Union of Journalists, have described the New Media Bill currently before the National Assembly as draconian, unconstitutional, anti-people, anti-business and anti-free speech.
Consequently, Nigerian Press Organisation, and other media stakeholders have asked the National Assembly to drop the bill.
They also asked the Senate to borrow from best practices in other jurisdictions that had expressly provided for and guaranteed press freedom without any form of government interference.
The NPO and others equally implored the Senate and, indeed, the National Assembly, to 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.
According to them, this can also ensure by law, Presidential and governorship election debates before elections; complete transparency in election funding, including public declaration of sources of election finance by all candidates and political parties and ensuring the integrity of the electoral process.
Rising from a meeting in Lagos, weekend, NPO and media stakeholders in a communique signed by President of Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria, NPAN, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena; President of Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mrs. Funke Egbemode, and President, Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Mr. Waheed Odusile. observed that the bill was unconstitutional and contrary to the rule of law.