Tony Iredia Kicks Against Media Industry Regulation Bill

July 8, 2022
Tony Iredia

By Adedapo Adesanya

The former Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VOA), Professor Tony Iredia, has warned the federal government against the imposition of regulations on the media industry.

He gave the warning at a meeting with the House of Representatives in Abuja on Thursday for the public hearing on the bill which seeks to provide regulation and conduct of the practice of the broadcasting profession in Nigeria and other related matters.

While declaring the hearing open, the Speaker of the lower chamber, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, maintained that the bill was expected to change the broadcast and information landscape in the country.

However, the media titan frowned at the overbearing powers conferred on the Minister of Information in the proposed legislation, calling for the removal of the toxic provisions in the proposed legislation and the government’s attempt to stifle the media.

Professor Iredia, who once served as Director-General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), maintained that the media should be allowed to regulate itself in line with corporate social responsibility.

He said, “We need to be careful. This bill is talking about empowering broadcasters professionally unlike other committees that have been very eager to promulgate social media, to promulgate this and that without reference to the fact that the media is constitutionally mandated to hold the government accountable to the people.

“If the people are to be held accountable are controlling those who hold them accountable, who will now hold people and create accountability in our system? So, lawmaking in the modern era must completely discountenance the old system of obsolete laws. Many of the laws we inherited are obsolete and those who gave us have changed them in different jurisdictions. What we need to do is to look, beyond here, and we see a lot of these issues that are being raised.”

Speaking about the bill, he proposed that the idea of regulation by the international standard is self-regulation.

“We need to look at a bill that is talking about how broadcasters can regulate themselves not how public bodies can regulate themselves. And those public bodies should know too that the media is no longer owned by the government alone. When in those days the government has a monopoly, anything could be done.

“For me, all that NBC has said this morning is quite good. The only difference is that they are probably not aware that when events overtake the past, you look at ways of updating the system,” Professor Iredia said.

While frowning at the undue interference with the media operations in the country in the NBC (Establishment) Act, he underscored the need for the amendment of the NBC Act, with a view to reflect the current realities.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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