By Soni Daniel, ABUJA
The apex body of newspaper owners in Nigeria, Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigerian, NPAN, has kicked against the ongoing media amendment bills at the National Assembly aimed at regulating the media, saying they were unnecessary.
NPAN President, Mallam Kabiru Yusuf, told Vanguard in an interview in Abuja Monday, that the amendments currently going on in the House of Representatives were an attempt to cripple the freedom of the media and create more burdens for the industry, which is already facing some difficulties.
Mallam Yusuf, who is also the Chairman of Trust Media Limited, pointed out that although he was in favour of regulating the media, such regulation should be done by the media industry itself and not by government or politicians.
Yusuf said: “There should be media regulation but that regulation should be by the media, not by the government or politicians.
“We cannot claim that the media profession is free from errors or problems or that there are no areas to improve.
“That is why NPAN has been making efforts to ensure that the industry is free from all forms of inhibitions that can stifle its freedom and growth.
“If one looks at the contents of the proposed bill, there is effort to regulate the media and make it difficult for the media to operate.
“Already we are in a very difficult situation and there is no need to further complicate issues for the media industry in Nigeria.
“By requesting the media to pay for licence, pay to the Nigeria Press Council for any form of infringement and be fined for any form of infraction, it is clear to us that they are trying to curtail the free flow of information and undermine democracy in Nigeria,” the NPAN boss said.
There are currently two bills on media regulation pending at the NASS, which have already drawn the ire of media practitioners, even before stakeholders consultations on them begin.
While one of the bills seeks to regulate the print media, the other aims at policing the broadcast media in the country.
Both bills are sponsored by the lawmaker representing Oyo State, Segun Odebunmi (read about him HERE), who, however, has no knowledge or background in the media.
He studied secretarial administration and business education before delving into politics.