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NASS gagging of media absolute nonsense, Saraki’s Spokesperson

By Henry Umoru

ABUJA- SPECIAL Adviser, Media and Publicity to Senate President Bukola Saraki, Yusuf Olaniyonu has described the gagging of the Media by the National Assembly ahead of the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly as absolute nonsense.

File: Photo Journalists discharging their duties. Note this image was extraction from Google

Responding to the very stringent conditions put in place by the Management of the National Assembly ahead of the inauguration, Olaniyonu said, ” this is absolute nonsense (pardon my choice of word). I don’t want to believe this story until I speak with the CNA who is the head of the bureaucracy.

“This is a demonstration of the fact that the political leadership of NASS do not decide most of the things that happen there. This is definitely news to me even as head of the media team of the Chairman of the National Assembly.

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“It is perhaps a new policy that will be in force from June 11 when the new NASS will be inaugurated. In any case, I will still try to give advice to the relevant people on an issue which I consider as bordering on press freedom and access to information.”

The Management of the National Assembly had set stringent conditions for the accreditation of journalists that will cover the Ninth Assembly.

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The National Assembly released the stringent conditions in a letter dated May 15, addressed to the Chairmen of both the Senate and House of Representatives Press Corps, and signed by the Director of Information of the National Assembly, Emmanuel Jerry Rawlings.

The new guidelines take effect from June 11, when the ninth National Assembly will be inaugurated

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

NEW GUIDELINES FOR THE ACCREDITATION OF MEDIA ORGANISATIONS, JOURNALISTS/ CORRESPONDENTS COVERING THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

1.0 Number of journalists/correspondents to be accredited for prints, electronic and online media for Senate and House of Representatives respectively.
1.1 Television – 1 Reporter and 1 Cameraman
1.2 Radio 1 Reporter
1.3 Independent Producers – 1 Reporter and 1 Cameramen
1.4 Online Media 1 Reporter and 1 Photographer
CLASSIFICATION OF ACCREDITATION
2.1 Permanent Accreditation 2.2 Temporary Accreditation
2.3 Foreign/lnternational Media Houses 2.4 Freelance
3.0 REQUIREMENT FOR PERMANENT ACCREDITATION OF JOURNALISTS/CORRESPONDENTS FOR PRINT, ELECTRONIC AND ONLINE MEDIA ORGANISATIONS
3.1 Evidence of certificate of incorporation of the media organisation.
3.2 Evidence of membership of professional bodies for media organization.
3.3 Proof of membership of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) with registration number.

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3.4 Code of certification from the National Library for the media organization.
3.5 Functional Bureau in Abuja (Staff Strength not less than 5 Editorial staff and daily circulation of 40,000 copies for the print media with evidence to support the claimed circulation figure.
3.6 Media Houses must be publishing daily and on weekend (Applicable to Online Media).
3.7 Re-certification form must be signed and endorsed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Media organization Bureau Chief, City Editor as the case may be.
3.8 The Media organization concerned must have experience of covering proceedings of the National Assembly for at least two (2) years before applying for permanent accreditation.
3.9 All media organization will submit a copy of its income tax return for the last two years.
3.10 All online media must have at least 5000 viewership per day, the site must have been in operation for 5 years and provide satisfactory evidence to this effect with clippings of the news utilized (especially parliamentary news).
3.11 Only television stations with national coverage and specific independent producers with current running programme on the National Assembly will be allowed access into the Chambers on a permanent basis (All the production crew will be accredited as entity).
3.12 All correspondents must attach photocopy of letter of appointment of the media organization on whose behalf request has been received for grant of accreditation.
3.13 All freelance journalist seeking permanent accreditation must show evidence of not less than 5 years coverage of the National Assembly proceedings/full editorial focus and publication on parliamentary reportage.
4.0 It is only Journalists and correspondence whose media organisations meet the above requirements for Permanent accreditation that will be entitled to carry National Assembly Identity Card/Membership of the respective Press Corp
5.0 All other media organization who do not meet the above requirement will be captured under the Temporary accreditation status and they will not be entitled to carry National Assembly Identity Card/Membership of the Press Corp of the Senate and House of Representatives.
6.0 All Temporary accredited media houses, journalists/correspondents shall be allowed permit into the National Assembly for specific coverage not exceeding one (1) week in the first instance and not more than twice in a month.
7.0 All foreign/international media houses seeking accreditation shall abide by all the Diplomatic Protocols established by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for foreign media organizations, the Code of Ethics for Nigerian Journalists and security clearance before accreditation will be considered upon the recommendation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
8.0 All permanently accredited journalists/correspondents shall submit re-certification letter from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of their media organization on a sessional basis failure to which accreditation shall be withdrawn forthwith.
9.0 All accredited media organization will be considered as a single entity in the issuance of passes irrespective of their membership of Senate and House of Representatives Press Corp.
10.0 This new accreditation guidelines shall come into effect from June 11 2019.

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