National Assembly Bows To Pressure, Drops Media Restrictions

National Assembly Bows To Pressure, Drops Media Restrictions

 

As stakeholders in the media industry protest against the stringent conditions for covering activities of the National Assembly, the management has withdrawn the controversial accreditation guidelines.

Although no official statement has been released to that effect, it was learnt that the National Assembly Clerk has directed the Information Director, Agada Rawlings Emmanuel, who signed the document containing the guidelines to immediately withdraw it.

A team of National Assembly officials, comprising Emmanuel and other senior staff, has been raised to work out more acceptable guidelines for the accreditation. The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has ordered an immediate investigation into the drafting and release of the draconian guidelines.

The directive was contained in a statement issued by his aide in charge of social media, Olu Onemola, Tuesday. Saraki said the requirements, which were drafted and made public without the knowledge of the political leadership of the National Assembly, negated his belief and commitment to allowing unhindered operation of the media.

It was also learnt yesterday that in a bid to unravel the circumstances that led to the emergence of the stringent conditions, which have attracted widespread condemnations from several quarters, Saraki has written to the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Ataba Sani Omolori, to brief the political leadership of the legislature on the matter. According to Saraki, even the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has denied knowledge of the guidelines.

The statement by Saraki on the need for investigation of the matter reads in part: “The attention of the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has just been drawn to a story that is circulating on social media about the National Assembly issuing new guidelines to journalists.

“These alleged guidelines have not emanated from either the Senate President or the Speaker, and will be promptly investigated.“The public should note that the 8th National Assembly has been committed to the freedom of the press as exemplified by its work to bringing governance closer to the people through live streams and live tweets.

“The leadership of the 8th National Assembly believes strongly in the freedom of the press and in carrying the Nigerian public along. Hence, the Senate President and all his colleagues will continue to work to ensure that these freedoms remain unhindered.”

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