Nigeria Press: Step Down On Your Bill On Freedom Of Expression

Going by the frequent shut down of freedom of speech and the different change of polices being set by the Federal government and the administration of Muhammad Buhari, looking at the most recent concern in the shutting down of freedom of speech, Twitter became banned in Nigeria just as other different social media networks are also awaiting their ban or submission to the regulatory body.

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The Nigerian Press Organisation, which comprises the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria, Nigerian Guild of Editors and the Nigerian Union of Journalists, has called on the House of Representatives to step down a bill seeking to amend the Nigerian Press Council Act, noting that it is still a subject of litigation in the Supreme Court. Several media organisations and groups also criticised various clauses in the bill as possibly discouraging freedom of speech and press in the country.

However, going by reports, the House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values, which organised the hearing on the bill, however, insisted on going ahead with the exercise.

The committee had organised the hearing on five bills including the ‘Bill for an Act to Amend the Nigerian Press Council Act, CAP N128, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, to Remove Bottlenecks Affecting Its Performance and Make the Council in Tune with Current Realities in Regulating the Press and for Related Matters (HB 330).’

At the opening of the event, Chairman of the committee, Olusegun Odebunmi, apologised to the media bodies especially NPAN which had protested on Wednesday over exclusion from the exercise. He noted that an “open invitation” to the event was extended to stakeholders.

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