The inauguration of the new nine-member National Media Complaints Commission (NMCC), established by the Nigerian Press Organization (NPO) to defend media freedom in Nigeria and resolve complaints about the media has been fixed for Monday, April 3, 2023, according to Mr. Feyi Smith, Executive Secretary of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and Interim Secretary of the Commission.
Mr. Smith said the formal inauguration of the NMCC, otherwise known as the National Ombudsman, will take place at the NPAN Secretariat in Lagos.
Members of the NMCC Board, which will be chaired by Mr. Emeka Izeze, Co-Founder of FrontFoot Media Initiative and former Managing Director of The Guardian newspapers, include Mr. Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA): Prof Stella Okunna, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) of Paul University in Awka, Anambra State; Mrs. Dupe Ajayi-Gbadebo, a journalist and lawyer; as well as Dr. Hussain Abdul, a development and humanitarian specialist and Country Director of Care International.
Others are Mrs. Eugenia Abu, a broadcaster, author and Creative Director of Essentials Communications; Mr. Lanre Idowu, Editor-in-Chief of Diamond Publications and founder of the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence (DAME); Mr. Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Pro-chancellor of Kano University of Science and Technology, and a member of the Body of Benchers; as well as the Chair of the House of Representatives Committee on Information.
The Commission is an initiative of the NPO, which is made up of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), the Nigerian Guild of Editors and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and is charged with strengthening public confidence in the media through the prompt resolution of issues of ethical breaches in media content.
Specifically, the Commission is tasked with:
· Providing the public with an independent forum for resolving complaints about the press;
· Resolving all complaints quickly, fairly and free of charge;
· Maintaining high standards of Nigerian journalism and journalistic ethics; and
· Defending the freedom of the press and the rights of the people to know.
The Commission, which will be guided by the Code of Ethics for Nigerian Journalists (2022) and the Ombudsman Mechanism/Complaints Procedure (2022), is expected to meet at least quarterly, either physically or virtually, or as necessary and convenient.