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National Assembly won’t gag media, says Senate

The Senate has said it was not possible for the 9th National Assembly to stiffen the media in Nigeria with its current amendments to the acts which established the National Broadcasting Commission and the Nigerian Press Council.

The Spokesperson for the Senate, Dr. Ajibola Basiru, who gave the assurance on Monday, said the amendments to the acts and other relevant laws should not be misinterpreted as an attempt to gag the freedom of speech and free press in the country.

Basiru spoke in an interview with journalists at the sidelines of a two-day capacity building training for Media Aides to Principal Officers of the National Assembly, organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies in Abuja on Monday.

Basiru said: “The freedom of speech is an inalienable right of the people and effectively captured in the 1999 Constitution.

“There is the need to ensure that some regulations are put in place to prevent reckless and irresponsible use of such rights as had been exhibited by a few media establishments and individuals in recent times in the country.

“The current attempt to amend the NBC Act and the NPC acts is to improve and sanitise and not to stiffen the civic space.”

The Director General, NILDS, Abubakar Sulaiman also said there was an urgent need to provide some levels of check on “a culture of misinformation” under the guise of freedom of speech.

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