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Newspaper Chiefs Move To Strengthen Self-Regulation

By Laraba MUREY

Four months after failed attempt to control the media in Nigeria through the Nigeria Press Council, NPC Amendment Bill, by the Federal Ministry of Information, newspapers chiefs have directed its members to begin the process of internal regulation.

The media chiefs under the aegis of the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria, NPAN, in a communiqué on Sunday, said it was imperative for regulatory framework for media operatives within the respective member-organisations and the industry at large.

All newspaper members have until November 1, 2021, deadline empanel an Internal Ombudsman mechanism. 

“This is even as steps are being quickened to empanel at the industry level, a  workable, quick and responsive system to address public complaints and concerns on missteps by the media and its operatives,” a statement by Kabiru Yusuf, president of the NPAN, stated. 

According to Yusuf, the internal Ombudsman is: to ensure that the news organisation keeps to the canons of journalism practice and the code of ethics; to mediate in conflicts stemming from internal or external pressures, and to keep news organisation honest and accountable to the public for news reported.

Stating also that it is “to ensure that the public’s right to know is protected,” while “the Internal Ombudsman in discharging its responsibilities is expected to work with the following tools: (a) The Nigeria Union Of Journalists ((NUJ) Code of Ethics), (b) The canons of journalism practice as encapsulated in FOBAC. (FOBAC stands for Fairness, Objectivity, Balance, Accuracy and Completeness).”

The association further pledged to unfold, soon, a global Ombudsman structure for the entire industry and the modalities for same and reaffirmed its commitment to responsible journalism, at all times.

The driver of the amendment bill chairman, House Committee on Information, Segun Odebunmi, was later to withdraw the bill after it generated a lot of opposition from civil society.

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