by Adeniyi Abdul
Clearly not a fan of the behaviour of members of the Nigerian media, Minister of Information Labaran Maku has come out to stress the need for the regulation of the practice of journalism in the country. Maku, while speaking on Friday in Abuja at the opening of a workshop on the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, took advantage of the opportunity to remind journalists about harsher times in the country and advised them not to take their freedom for granted. He also stressed how much of a great leader President Jonathan is for signing into law the Freedom of Information bill.
“The most important law that has been signed in this country is the Freedom of Information Act.” he said. “On the eve of his inauguration, President Jonathan signed the Freedom of Information bill into law. It is only a President that is committed to rule of law, good governance, and due process and committed to openness and transparency that would have signed that bill into law.”
“Under military rule, journalists were hounded into jail and there was no freedom.” he continued. “Journalism was very tough and risky.”
“But today, we take these things for granted. We should not take them for granted now.” he warned.
“Freedom is good but it can be very corrosive. FOI Act now gives you opportunity to practise journalism without fear. But you need to study the law properly for you to understand how to apply it.”
“If we do not allow our profession to be regulated like other professions, things cannot go on well. I will soon meet with the stakeholders on this.”
“The law is not for us alone, the law is for Nigerians, the law is for democracy, it is for all of us. Now is the time to appoint a regulator that would guide journalists on issues relating to the ethics and code of practice.”