In the bid to strengthen public confidence in the media as a credible barometer of public opinion, the Nigerian media will on Monday unveil the nine-member board of the National Media Complaints Commission otherwise known as the National Ombudsman.
A statement by the President, Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria, Kabiru Yusuf, described the development as 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.
Members of the commission who are drawn from the media, the bar, the academia, and civil society are 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 include 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; Mr. Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda, Mrs. Dupe Ajayi-Gbadebo, a journalist, lawyer and arbitrator; Eugenia Abu, broadcaster, author, and columnist, and the Chair, House of Representatives Committee on Information.
“The process is being driven by the Nigeria Press Organisation comprising the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria, the Nigerian Guild of Editors, the Nigeria Union of Journalists, the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, and the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers, 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,” the statement said.
It added that 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.