SERAP drags senate to UN over obnoxious Press Council Bill
Rights group SERAP has reported the Nigerian Senate to the United Nations for considering a Bill for an Act to repeal the Nigeria Press Council Act, 1992.
Media stakeholders in the country have strongly condemned the move by federal lawmakers in the red chamber, describing the bill as repressive and obnoxious.
The critical stakeholders who have condemned Senate’s move are the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN); the Nigerian Press Organisation (NPO); the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON); the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE); the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ); among others.
Journalists are evidently not the only ones angered by this bill.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has petitioned Mr. David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression to press the Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Nigerian Senate to withdraw the bill.
It says the bill “aims to undermine constitutionally and internationally recognized media freedom in the country.”
The bill has passed through second reading in spite of subsisting court case and strong opposition to it.
“The bill would escalate the growing threats and attacks on the right to freedom of expression and media freedom and have a powerful chilling effect across the country, SERAP said in the petition.
“The proposed bill by the Senate is a major threat to media independence and diversity in the country and shows lack of understanding of the essential role of independent media in the sustainability of the country’s democratic dispensation. SERAP believes that a free and independent media would facilitate public participation, governmental accountability and improve democratic institutions.”