The Newspapers Association of Nigeria (NPAN) has expressed concern over alleged surreptitious moves by some persons to revive the Nigerian Press Council which it said has been declared unconstitutional by a court. The group therefore called on the Federal Government to respect the judgment on the Press Council.
The NPAN’s concerns and recommendations were contained in a communiqué issued at the end of its meeting held on July 16, 2013, in Abuja at which it examined the state of press freedom in Nigeria, among other important national issues.
It also urged the government to help deepen the nation’s democracy by encouraging the full and complete implementation of the Freedom of Information Act signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan himself in a signal to the nation and the world that he would run an open government anchored on a free press.
NPAN alleged that there are moves by some persons in government which indicate that they will rather not have a free and fair press but prefer to take steps to abridge the freedom of the press and the right of the people to have unfettered access to information. It therefore cautioned elected leaders against following the tried and failed tactics of past dictatorships in Nigeria.
NPAN recalled that on February 25, 2010, a Federal High Court in Lagos, presided over by Justice A. M. Liman rendered its judgment in a Suit NO FHC/L/CS/1324/99, which the association had filed against the President, the Attorney General of the Federation, the Minister of Information and the National Assembly, and held that the Press Council was unconstitutional.
The group appealed to the Federal Government to immediately stop the ongoing trial of the journalists with the Leadership newspaper group, who were recently re-arraigned, after the same government had withdrawn the case against them and the company during the celebration of Democracy Day. NPAN said their continuing trial is “not consistent with the spirit of our collective democratic journey and unhelpful in the circumstances.”
NPAN is the umbrella organisation of print media owners in Nigeria and works to promote and protect the economic interest and operating environment of its members.
Click here for the full text of the NPAN’s Communique.