Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidency has said all the attacks on the Muhammadu Buhari administration as a result of Nigerian Press Council Amendment Bill were misdirected, since it has nothing at all to do with the Executive.
The Senate had explained that the amendments being made to the Nigerian Press Council Act was to address the issue of fake news.
The Senate had always said that it was repealing and reenacting the Act since it was created by a military regime.
The upper chamber had argued that the new bill seeks to expunge perceived draconian provisions of the extant law, amend same to reflect current sensibilities and insert new clauses to situate journalism practice in line with global standards.
But media stakeholders, under the aegis of the Nigerian Press Organisation (NPO), argued that if passed, the bill would restrict press freedom in the country.
Speaking to State House Correspondents on the controversy surrounding the proposed amendment of the law sponsored as a Private Member’s Bill, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, advised groups and individuals that have objections to the Bill to follow due process rather than throw mud at the government using the media.
“This is a privately-sponsored bill. President Muhammadu Buhari is not involved,” Shehu said.
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He added that there is a process to be followed when people oppose a bill that is being considered by the Legislature, and encouraged anyone against the proposed bill to do so.
“President Buhari should not be blamed for the actions of the legislators whom we voted to represent us in the National Assembly.
“At the same time, the Presidency would like to assure everyone that, however the process ends, President Buhari will not compromise his impeccable and untainted democratic credentials by signing into law, any bill that violates the letter or the spirit of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Shehu said.