The Nigerian media will on Monday inaugurate a 9-member Board of the National Media Complaints Commission (NMCC), otherwise known as the National Ombudsman in the bid to strengthen public confidence in the media as a credible barometer of public opinion.
The process, which is being driven by the Nigeria Press Organisation (NPO), comprising the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN), the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), and the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), along with other strategic media players and the civil society, in particular the MacArthur Foundation, is a major step by the industry to strengthen public confidence in the media through the prompt resolution of issues bordering on ethical breaches in media content.
According to a statement by the president of the NPO, Malam Kabiru A. Yusuf, the commission will serve as an independent forum for resolving complaints about the press quickly, fairly and free of charge; maintain high standards of Nigerian journalism and journalistic ethics and defend the freedom of the press and the rights of the people to know.
Members of the commission, who are drawn from the media, the bar, the academia and the civil society are the former managing director, The Guardian Newspapers, Mr Emeka Izeze, who will serve as chairman; a former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr A. B Mahmoud, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN); deputy vice-chancellor (Academics), Paul University, Awka, Anambra State, Prof Chinyere Stella Okunna; a development specialist and country director, Care International (Nigeria), Dr Hussain Abdu.
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Others are the editor-in-chief, Diamond Publications Ltd and founder, Diamond Awards for Media Excellence (DAME), Mr Lanre Idowu; the executive director, Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Mr Edetaen Ojo; a journalist, lawyer and arbitrator, Mrs Dupe Ajayi-Gbadebo; a broadcaster, author, and columnist, Mrs Eugenia Abu, as well as the chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Information.
Recall that prior to the February 22 announcement of the composition of the commission, each media house had been directed to institute, at the newspaper level, the local ombudsman.
The statement added that the national ombudsman would serve as an appellate body for the local ombudsman, as well as a court of first instance.