Gbajabiamila: House Won’t Promote Laws against Freedom of Expression, Media

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Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja

The Speaker, House of Representative, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila said yesterday that the Ninth House will neither encourage any legislative agenda that will gang the media, nor stiffle the freedom of information of the citizens as guaranteed by the constitution.

The speaker who spoke in Abuja at a public presentation of a book titled “The Powers that Be,” authored by the Managing Director of The Sun Newspapers, Mr. Onuoha Ukeh, said that the House under his leadership sees the media as a veritable partner in nation building and democratic processes.

Represented by the House Committe Chairman on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, the speaker reaffirmed the House’s commitments towards strengthening the nation’s democratic processes.

He however, cautioned media, especially those in the social media, to ensure that the freedom of speech, which the constitution guarantees was not abused.

“The Ninth House of Representatives under my leadership sees the media as more than a mere source of news, but as an instrument of unity, peace and national development.

“We consider the media to be the fourth Realm of the Estate , or the fourth Arm of the government with a critical role to play that can sometimes be even more important than that of those in government.

“Which is why we have stated this in our Section 2.14 of our legislative agenda. We will partner the media in our joint task efforts for nation building; we will ensure that the freedom of information is strengthened, and the media is not gagged,” the speaker added.

He said the parliament would take responsibility to ensure that the media is not used to perpetrate evil but reinforce afro -positive narratives, adding that as partners in nation building, the media must be a tool to showcase the nation’s strength better than the weakness.

He called on the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists ( NUJ) to ensure that its members portray the country in a positive light with their reportage.

He also advised that social media influencers should be groomed by NUJ to carry out their trade in information management in such a manner that international best practices would not be compromised.

Earlier in his remarks, the Minister of Science and Technology Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, who was also Chairman of occasion, noted that the author of the book has brought his wealth of experience to hear in chronicling useful information that will help both those in government and scholars as well.

Onu urged media managers to always be steadfast in the defence of democracy while promoting ideas that will help give direction to political leaders.

Also, the author of the book, Ukeh, explained that the ideas behind the book was not to portray those at the corridors of political powers as being invincible, but a subtle reminder to everyone who is entrusted with any responsibility.

Ukeh stated that every actions and inaction of humanity has dire consequences, especially for those that are opportune to lead at any level of human endeavors.