•Izeze, Mahmoud, others make new committee
Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
The Nigerian Press Organisation (NPO) yesterday floated the new ombudsman mechanism with the announcement of a nine-man board of the National Media Complaints Commission (NMCC), otherwise known as the National Ombudsman.
The setting up of the commission, the group said, was 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.
The NPO comprises the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN), the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), a statement jointly signed by the President NPAN, Mallam Kabiru Yusuf and Executive Secretary, Feyi Smith, noted.
According to the NPO, the process of setting up the organisation was midwifed with other strategic media players and the civil society, in particular the MacArthur Foundation.
The commission members, drawn from the media, bar, the academia, and civil society, the group added include: A former Managing Director, Guardian Newspapers, Mr. Emeka Izeze (Chairman) and a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and a member of the Body of Benchers, Mr. A. B Mahmoud (SAN).
Also selected were the Deputy Vice Chancellor, (Academic) Paul University, Abia State, Prof Chinyere Stella Okunna, a Development & Humanitarian Specialist and Country Director, Care International (Nigeria), Dr. Hussain Abdu and Editor-in-Chief, Diamond Publications Ltd. and Founder, Diamond Awards For Media Excellence (DAME), Mr. Lanre Idowu.
In addition, the Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda (MRA) Mr. Edetaen Ojo as well as a Journalist, Lawyer and Arbitrator, Mrs. Dupe Ajayi-Gbadebo were picked as members of the ombudsman.
Broadcaster, Author and Columnist and Managing Partner/CEO, Eugenia Abu Media, Mrs. Eugenia Abu, and the Chair, House of Representatives Committee on Information are also members of the new organisation.
“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,” the statement stressed.
Prior to the announcement, it stated that each media house had been directed to institute at the newspaper level, the local ombudsman, explaining that the national ombudsman will serve as an appellate body for the local units as well as a court of first instance.