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The House of Representatives announced on Friday its intention to reassess laws and regulations constraining press freedom and the media’s capacity to fulfill its constitutional mandate in Nigeria.

During his keynote address at the 2024 World Press Freedom Day event organized by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Nigeria, Rep. Akin Rotimi, Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, underscored the legislature’s commitment to creating an environment where journalists can operate freely while adhering to professional standards.

Rotimi emphasized the importance of fostering good governance, transparency, and accountability through various legislative initiatives, including media engagements, public hearings, and town hall meetings outlined in Agenda 6.

World Press Freedom Day, observed annually on May 3, serves as a platform for media professionals and stakeholders to reflect on issues concerning press freedom and ethical journalism.

Rotimi highlighted the collaborative efforts between the 10th House of Representatives under Speaker Tajudeen Abbas and the media to ensure effective governance.

He reaffirmed the press’s constitutional role, as enshrined in Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution, emphasizing the media’s duty to uphold the fundamental objectives and hold the government accountable to the people.

Despite challenges such as insecurity and funding constraints, Rotimi commended stakeholders for their efforts to address these issues, noting significant progress since the era of military rule.

He called on the media to engage in introspection, self-regulation, and adherence to ethical standards to strengthen their credibility and legitimacy.

Mr. Lukas Laible, Deputy Resident Representative of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Nigeria, lauded the press for its pivotal role in Nigerian democracy, emphasizing the indispensable link between freedom of speech, press freedom, and societal liberty.

Highlighting the media’s responsibility to hold political leaders accountable, Laible stressed the crucial role of journalists in enhancing good governance and fostering public awareness of the value of a free society.

During a panel session, Mrs. Franca Aiyetan, Secretary of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), urged journalists to discharge their duties responsibly to avoid inciting conflicts.

Addressing the theme “Navigating the Intersection of Media Regulations, Press Freedom Advocacy, and Ethical Journalism in the Face of Environmental Crises,” Aiyetan emphasized NBC’s commitment to supporting a robust and responsible Nigerian media landscape.

Another panelist, Mrs. Mojirayo Ogunlana, Executive Director of Digicivic Initiative, called for legislative measures to safeguard journalists’ lives and advocated for media self-regulation to prevent government interference. She stressed the urgency of addressing threats to journalists’ safety and urged media practitioners to proactively regulate themselves to forestall governmental encroachments on press freedom.

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