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Media bodies urge Reps to drop bill on press regulation

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Media bodies and organisations on Thursday urged the House of Representatives to drop all press regulations bills before the parliament.

The groups made the call at a public hearing on five bills organised by the House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics, and Values.

One of the legislations currently before the lawmakers is the Bill for an Act to Amend the Nigerian Press Council Act, CAP N128, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

The groups insisted that clauses in the bills would discourage freedom of speech and the press in the country.

The Chairman of the committee, Olusegun Odebunmi, apologised to the media bodies, especially Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) which protested its exclusion from the exercise on Wednesday.

He said open invitation to the event was extended to the stakeholders.

READ ALSO: Why Nigerian govt insists on social media regulation – Shehu Sani

The Editor-in-Chief of Leadership Newspapers, Azubuike Ishiekwene, who responded to the committee’s claim on open invitation to the forum said the organisation did not receive any notification on the meeting.

He said: “There is a matter and I am sure that as stewards of the people and the law, you are aware that there is a pending matter between the NPO and some parties involved in this legislation.

”That is why a negotiated conversation seems to us to be a way to deal with it because there is a matter pending before the Supreme Court: between the NPAN and some parties involved in this bill that is being amended.”

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