It appears the Nigerian media space will soon take a new shape with the inauguration of a nine-man board of the National Media Complaints Commission, NMCC, in an effort to strengthen public confidence in the media industry.
According to a statement signed by the President, NPAN / President, NPO, Mal. Kabiru A. Yusuf and dated March 31, 2023, the Commission otherwise known as the National Ombudsman is scheduled for inauguration on Monday, April 3, 2023.
The Commission is expected to 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 rights of the people to know.
Members of the commission, drawn from the media, the bar, the academia, and civil society include; Mr. Emeka Izeze , FNGE, former Managing Director, Guardian Newspapers (Chairman); Mr. A. B Mahmoud, SAN, OON, former President, Nigerian Bar Association; Prof Chinyere Stella Okunna, Deputy Vice Chancellor, (Academics) Paul University, Awka, Anambra State; Dr. Hussain Abdu, a Development Specialist and Country Director, Care International (Nigeria); Mr. Lanre Idowu, FNGE, Editor-in-Chief, Diamond Publications Ltd., and Founder, Diamond Awards For Media Excellence (DAME); Mr. Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda, MRA; Mrs. Dupe Ajayi-Gbadebo, FNGE, a Journalist, Lawyer and Arbitrator; Mrs. Eugenia Abu, Broadcaster, Author, and Columnist, and the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Information.
The statement showed the process is being driven by the Nigeria Press Organisation, NPO, comprising the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria, NPAN, the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE; the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ; the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON; and the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers, GOCOP, along with other strategic media stakeholders as well as the civil society, particularly the MacArthur Foundation.
It noted that prior to the February 22, 2023, announcement of the composition of the Commission, each media house had been directed to institute at the newspaper level, the local Ombudsman, while the National Ombudsman will serve as an appellate body for the local Ombudsman as well as a Court of first instance.
The Inauguration of the Commission is a major step by the media industry to strengthen public confidence through prompt resolution of issues, bordering on ethical breaches in media content.