From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Senate, yesterday, said it was impossible for anyone including the ninth National Assembly to gag the media in Nigeria.
It said current efforts to amend the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Act and other relevant laws should not be misinterpreted as an attempt to erode freedom of speech and free pres.
Chairman Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Bashiru Ajibola, stated this on the sidelines of a two-day capacity building training for media aides to principal officers of the National Assembly organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies(NILDS) in Abuja.
Ajibola, however, said while freedom of speech is an inalienable rights of the people and effectively captured in the 1999 Constitution, there was need to ensure some regulations are put in place to prevent reckless and irresponsible use of such rights, as has been exhibited by a few media establishments and individuals in recent times in the country.
The senate spokesperson said the current attempt to amend the NBC Act and Press Council Act is to improve and sanitise the industry and not to stiffen the civic space.
Director-General, NILDS, Abubakar Sulaiman shared a similar opinion with Ajibola, when he said there was the need to provide some level of check on “a culture of misinformation” under the guise of freedom of speech.
In his paper presentation titled ‘Communication with tact and diplomacy’ Political Science lecturer from Igbinedion University, Okada, Benin City, Prof. Adeolu Akande, emphasised the need for media aides to master the act of communicating and convincing their audience without generating unnecessary controversies that could further complicate matters for their principals.