The Nigerian Media is set to inaugurate a nine-member board of the National Media Complaints Commission NMCC, otherwise known as the National Ombudsman, today, in line with efforts to strengthen public confidence in the media as a credible barometer of public opinion.
Members of the commission are drawn from the media, the bar, the academia, and civil society including; Mr. Emeka Izeze , former Managing Director, The Guardian Newspapers (Chairman), Mr. A. B Mahmoud, SAN, former President of the 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.
Others are; 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, a Journalist, Lawyer and Arbitrator, Mrs. Eugenia Abu, Broadcaster, Author, and Columnist, and the Chair, House of Representatives Committee on Information.
A statement by the President, Newspapers Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria NPAN/ President, Nigeria Press Organisation NPO, Malam Kabiru Yusuf, says that the Inauguration is a major step by the industry to strengthen public confidence in the media through prompt resolution of issues bordering on ethical breaches in media content.
He, however, noted that the process is being driven by the NPO, comprising the NPAN, the Nigerian Guild of Editors NGE, and 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 players and the civil society, the MacArthur Foundation in particular.
The statement reads in part: “The commission will 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 the rights of the people to know.”
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. The National Ombudsman will serve as an appellate body for the local Ombudsman as well as a court of first instance.