The Nigerian Press and Practice of Journalism Council Bill (4)

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is proved to be valid 56. Where a complaint has been made against a  particular journalist or a Media House, he shall be notified by the commission of such a complaint in writing and given at least 21 (Twenty-one) days notice within which he shall prepare his defence and appear before the Commission.
57. The Commission shall complete its deliberations on any complaint submitted to it within 30 days from the date of its sitting on the case

58. A person who has any relationship with the complainant of the alleged offender shall not sit in the hearing of the complaint by the Commission.

59. Where a journalist is found liable by the Commission for professional and or ethical misconduct, it shall, have power to reprimand, or suspend him for a period not exceeding twelve (12) months or impose any other appropriate punishment. The decision of the Commission in this regard shall be communicated to the journalist within seven working days.

60. The affected journalist shall, however, have the right of appeal to the Nigeria Press and Practice of Journalism Council within fourteen (14) days of the finding of the state commission.

61. A further appeal may be made by the complainant from the decision of the Nigeria Press and Practice of Journalism Council to the Court of Appeal.

PREES-bill

62. The Nigeria Press and Practice of Journalism Council shall keep a log book in which it shall publish the names of members found guilty of professional misconduct.

63. If after the hearing the commission adjudges that the charge of professional misconduct has not been provided, the commission—

(a) shall record its findings that the respondent is not guilty of such conduct in respect of which the complaint relates;
(b) may order any party including the complainant to pay the cost of the proceedings.

64.— (1) Notwithstanding the provisions in Part IX of this Bill, any aggrieved person shall have the right of action against any Journalist of a Media House in a Regular Court, where such borders on defamation.
(2) Such action in subsection (1) can come up unilaterally or simultaneously with action under Part IX of this Act.

(3) Where there is conflict in the findings of a Regular Court, the Commission and the Council, the decision of the Regular Court shall prevail and shall have a binding effect on the Council.

(4) The Council shall proceed to execute or implement the Regular Court’s decision, directed by the Court and in accordance with the penalties provided for under this Act.

PART X — OFFENCES AND PENALTIES

65.— (1) Where—
(a) a registered journalist is convicted of any offence in Nigeria or elsewhere by any court or tribunal having power to impose imprisonment (whether or not such an offence is punishable with imprisonment), which in the opinion of the Council is incompatible with the status of a journalist; or

(b) the Council is satisfied that the name of any person has been fraudulently registered; or
(c) the Council is of the opinion that a registered journalist has, on the basis of complaints made pursuant to section 16 of this Act, been found guilty of persistent breach of the code of Professional and Ethical Conduct the Council may, if it thinks fit, give any of the directions specified in subsection (2) of this section.

(2) The council may give a direction under subsection (1) of this section—
(a) reprimanding that persons; or
(b) suspending that person from practice by ordering him not to engage in practice as a journalist for such period not exceeding three months, as may be specified in the directive; or

(c) requesting the Nigeria Union of Journalists to strike that person’s name off the register and any such directive may, where appropriate, include provision requiring the refund of monies paid or handing over of documents or any other thing as the circumstances of the case may require.

(3) For the purpose of subsection (1) of this section, a person shall not be deemed to have committed an offence under this Act, unless it was an offence at the time of commission and at a time no appeal or further appeal is pending or may (without extension of time) to be brought in connection with the offence.

(4) When the Council gives a direction under subsection (2) of this section, it shall cause notice of the direction to be served on the person to whom it relates.
66.—(1) Any person, not being a registered journalist, who—

(a) for or in expectation of a reward practices or holds himself out to practice as a registered journalist; or
(b) without reasonable cause, takes or uses any name, title, addition or inscription implying that he is authorised by law to practise as a registered journalist, is guilty of an offence under this Act.

Provided that nothing in this subsection shall be construed as amounting to a derogation from the provisions of section 38 of the Constitution of this Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, which provides that every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression and to impart ideas and information without interference.

(2) If any person for the purpose of procuring the registration of any name, qualification or other matter —
(a) makes a statement which he believes to be false in a material particular; or
(b) recklessly makes a statement which is false in any material particular, he is guilty of an offence under this Act.

(3) If the executive secretary or any other person employed by the Council, willfully makes any falsification in any matter relating to the register, he is guilty of an offence under this Act.

(4) Where an offence under this section has been committed by a body corporate and it is proved that it was permitted with the consent or connivance of, or to be attributable to any neglect or the part of any director, manager, secretary, or other person purporting to act in any such capacity he, as well as the body corporate, shall be deemed to be guilty of an offence and liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

(5) where any person has been convicted of an offence under this section of the Act–
(a) in a High Court, he shall be liable to a fine not exceeding N5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both such fine and imprisonment and to an additional fine of N200 for each day during which the offence continues; and

(b) in a Magistrate Court, he shall be liable to a fine of N3,000 and to an additional fine of N100 to each day during which the offence continues.

67.—(1) Any person who, without documentation with the Council, owns, publishes or prints a newspaper, magazine, or journalist commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a find of N250,000 or to imprisonment or a term not exceeding three years or to both such fine and imprisonment and to an additional fine of N5,000 for every day the offence continues.

(2) Any news agent who circulates for sale any copy of a newspaper, magazine, or journal which is not documented in accordance with the provisions of this Act commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both such fine and imprisonment.

(3) A copy of an entry in or an extract from the register referred to in section 32 of this Act purporting to be duly issued by the Councillor certified by any person appointed for that purpose by the Council shall be received in evidence unless the contrary is proved be presumed contents of the documentation.

68.—(1) The owner or publisher of a newspaper, magazine or journal, shall submit to the Council not later than sixty days after the end of each year, a return on the performance of the newspaper, magazine or journal, in such form as may be specified by the Council, from time to time, restating its mission statement and objectives, any change in its name of confirming if the newspaper, magazine or journal has kept to the Code of Professional and Ethical Conduct in the discussion of issues of public interest.

(2) Any owner or publisher of a newspaper, magazine or journal who fails to comply with the provisions of subsection (1) of this section is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N100,000.

PART XI — MISCELLANEOUS

69. The offices of the Minister of Information, Chief Press Secretary to the President, Vice-President, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ministers, and the equivalents in the States and the Local Government Council level, shall be reserved for registered and practicing journalists.

70. At least twenty-five percent of board appointments in media establishments at all levels shall be reserved for registered and practising journalists.

71.—(1) Only registered and licensed print and electronic media houses shall be allowed to operate in the country.
(2) Any breach of the provisions of this section shall constitute an offence punishable on conviction by a fine of not less than N500,000 or one year imprisonment for the owner, and principal officers of the media houses concerned.
72.—(1) The council shall maintain a fund which shall consist of—

(a) such monies as may, from time to time, be provided by the Federal Government by war of grants;
(b) such monies as may be specified by the Council to be provided, from time to time, by the Nigeria Union of Journalist, the Nigerian Guild of Editors the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria and the Broadcast Organisation of Nigeria; and

(c) such monies as may be received by the Council in relation to the exercise of its function under this Act.
(2) The Council shall keep proper accounts and proper records in relation thereto and shall prepare in respect of each year a statement of its accounts.

(3) The council shall, within six months after the end of each year of which the accounts relate, cause the accounts to be audited by the auditors appointed by the Council from the list and in accordance with the guidelines supplied by the Auditor-General for the Federation.

73. The Council shall submit to the Minister not later than 30 September in each year a report on its activities during the preceding year which shall include a copy of the audited accounts of the Council for that year and the Minister shall cause the report to be laid before the President.

74.—(1) An application for documentation with the Council of a newspaper, magazine or journal shall be made in such form as may be prescribed by the Council from time to time.
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, any person requiring the documentation of a newspaper, magazine, or journal shall submit—

(a) brief mission statement and objective of the newspaper, magazine or journal;
(b) the title or name of the newspaper, magazine or journal;
(c) the full address of the location of the office of the newspaper, magazine or journal;
(d) the name of the body corporate which owns or intends to publish the newspaper, magazine or journal;

(e) a copy of the certificate of incorporation;

and

(f) such other information as the Council may, from time to time, require.

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