The sponsor of the controversial Nigerian Press Council (NPC) amendment bill, Oluwasegun Odebunmi, has said it is not meant to gag press freedom but to remove bottlenecks retarding the optimum performance of the NPC, as well as sanitise media practice in the country.
Odebunmi, who is also the chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values, disclosed this while speaking to journalists yesterday.
He said the NPC amendment bill was initiated with an independent mind to transform and make the Council move with the current realities in the media industry.
According to him, the essence of the public hearing on the bill was to allow inputs from stakeholders, groups and members of the public.
He said there was the need to clear the air on the wrong public perception regarding the bill, especially the series of misgivings expressed by critical stakeholders that see the proposed amendment as a threat.
According to him, the proposal for the establishment of a ‘press code’ as proposed in the bill was to protect and guide the Council to checkmate and reduce quackery, fake news and tackle promoters of hate speech.
He noted that fake news and other unethical practices were already affecting the integrity of the journalism profession and media practice in Nigeria.
He said, “The bill shouldn’t have been controversial as everything regarding the sections proposed to be amended have been clearly spelt out.”
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