The Senate has officially reacted to the controversy trailing the move to amend the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Act and the Press Council Act.
Senator representing Osun Central and Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Bashiru Ajibola said the amendment of the two bills was not meant to cripple press freedom.
At the public hearing into a bill to amend the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission Act organised by House Committees on Information, Ethics and Values, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has asked the lawmakers to include internet broadcasting under the control of the NBC.
Speaking on Monday in Abuja at the venue of a two-day capacity building training for Media Aides to Principal Officers of the National Assembly, organized by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), the Senate spokesman further claimed that it was meant to check excesses of those he called reckless and irresponsible media establishment.
While he admitted that freedom of speech is an inalienable right of the people effectively captured in the 1999 Constitution, Senator Ajibola however maintained that such rights have been abused by a certain section of the media.
He said the amendment of the NBC Act and the Press Council Act was meant to sanitize the media space and not stiffen it.
Director-General, NILDS, Abubakar Sulaiman spoke in a similar vein as he said it has become imperative to provide some levels of check on “a culture of misinformation” under the guise of freedom of speech.
Chairman Nigeria Communications Commission, Professor Adeolu Akande, in his paper, “Communication with Tact and Diplomacy, urged media aides to master the act of communicating and convincing their audience without courting public disaffection for their principals.