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Press Council Bill: Reps’ public hearing may affect press freedom, good governance — NPAN

Yusuf called on all media workers and their organisations to pay attention to the public hearing.

The Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN) says the House of Representatives’ public hearing on the Nigerian Press Council (NPC) Act Amendment Bill, which begins today, may have important consequences on the freedom of the press in particular and good governance in general.

NPAN President, Mallam Kabiru A. Yusuf, said this in a statement Wednesday.

Yusuf called on all media workers and their organisations to pay attention to the public hearing.

He said the association had not been invited to participate in the public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values.

He said the association received, with surprise, news of the public hearing on the NPC Act Amendment Bill scheduled to hold today.

“In fact, going by available information, the hearing had initially been scheduled for yesterday, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, along with four other media-related bills.

“As a stakeholder in the Nigerian media space, we don’t understand why print media owners have not been invited to participate in the hearing,” Yusuf said.

He said this was contrary to the earlier practice when the NPAN was invited to a public hearing on the same bill in the last Senate.

“This time around, we find it strange that we would get to know of this development by sheer happenstance. We therefore call on the leadership of the National Assembly and the House of Representatives, in particular, to redress this anomaly,” he said.

Yusuf, however, said the association would endeavour to show up at the hearing even without a formal invitation by the House Committee.

On why the NPAN was not formally invited, the committee’s clerk, Jekop Dan-Alih, told Daily Trust that the advertisement placed in national dailies and electronic media served as invitation to stakeholders and members of the public interested in attending the public hearing or making presentations.

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