The Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Mr. Edetaen Ojo, has been named a member of the Board of the National Media Complaints Commission, established by the Nigerian Press Organization (NPO), an umbrella body for media professional associations in Nigeria, to defend media freedom in the country and resolve complaints about the media.
The nine-member Board, otherwise known as the National Ombudsman, is made up of members from diverse professional backgrounds and will be chaired by Mr. Emeka Izeze, Co-Founder of FrontFoot Media Initiative and former Managing Director of The Guardian newspapers.
Other members of the Board are Prof Stella Okunna, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) of Paul University in Awka, Anambra State; Mrs. Dupe Ajayi-Gbadebo, a journalist and lawyer; Dr. Hussain Abdul, a development and humanitarian specialist and Country Director of Care International; 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, 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.