Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora, says plans are on to re-present the Bill for an Act to establish the Nigerian Press and Practice of Journalism Council. The Bill is aimed at ensuring high professional conduct of journalists in the country and dealing with complaints emanating from the public about the conduct of journalists and media houses in their professional capacity.
Dabiri-Erewa, who made this known in an interview with newsmen in Lagos on Friday, stated that the Bill seeks to facilitate the repeal of the Nigerian Press Council Act, 1992. The presidential aide said that the non-passage of the Bill was responsible for unwholesome practices in the media today.
“What we planned to do was to ensure the welfare of journalists, to ensure professionalism, to ensure a bit of sanity, to be controlled by the media for the media. “But media owners didn’t seem to want it at that time (the Bill was introduced). “And look at the repercussion today; the challenges in the media today seem insurmountable; but we cannot give up.
“If we had done what we had to do then, I am sure we won’t be in the dire situation that we are today. “Now social media has taken over and we couldn’t even handle professionalism in the core media then. “What do you do now about the social media where anybody can say anything and get away with it?
“Already, the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) is talking with parliament; they are thinking of bringing the Bill back, because it had gone very far. “So NUJ is actually talking with parliament and a process is on to ensure professionalism in the media.’’
The ad hoc committee that was set up to review the Bill had said in 2009 that the parliament lacked the powers to legislate on a media salary scale.