Nigerian media inaugurates National Complaints Commission Monday

The Nigerian media will on Monday inaugurate a nine-member board of the National Media Complaints Commission (NMCC), otherwise known as the National Ombudsman.

This is contained in a statement by Malam Kabiru Yusuf, President of Newspapers Proprietor Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and President, Nigeria Press Organisation (NPO).

Yusuf said in the statement, issued on Friday in Lagos, that members of the commission were drawn from the media, the bar, the academia and civil society.

He said that step had become imperative in the bid to strengthen public confidence in the media as a credible barometer of public opinion.

Yusuf listed membership of the NMCC to include Mr Emeka Izeze, former Managing Director, Guardian Newspapers (Chairman); Mr. A. B Mahmoud (SAN), former President of the Nigerian Bar Association and Prof. Chinyere Okunna, Deputy Vice Chancellor, (Academics) Paul University, Awka, Anambra State.

Others are, Dr Hussain Abdu, a Development Specialist and Country Director, Care International (Nigeria); Mr Lanre Idowu, Editor-in-Chief, Diamond Publications Ltd. and Founder, Diamond Awards For Media Excellence (DAME) and Mr Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda (MRA).

The rest are Mrs Dupe Ajayi-Gbadebo, a Journalist, lawyer and arbitrator; Mrs Eugenia Abu, a Broadcaster, Author, and Columnist, and the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Information.

Yusuf said: “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.

“The process is being driven by the Nigeria Press Organisation (NPO,) comprising the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN), the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).

“It also comprises the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), and the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), along with other strategic media players and the civil society, in particular the MacArthur Foundation.

“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.”

According to him, prior to the Feb. 22, announcement of the composition of the commission, each media house has 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,” he said.