NEWS FLAKES NG gathers that the Leadership of the National Assembly (NASS) has commenced a crackdown on journalists and Media houses covering it’s activities with the released of stringent conditions for new accreditation that may barred the forth estate of the real from covering the inauguration of the 9th Assembly.
The release of the 20 points stringent requirements for all journalists and Media houses to cover the activities of the national assembly before or at the expiration of the present national assembly is seen as another attempt to gag the press.
Some of the requirements to cover the national assembly at the expiration of this present leadership, according to the NASS management, included the Media house’s CAC certificate and income tax.
Section 22 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended states that, “The press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this Chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people.”
But in a memo attached with a press statement addressed to the chairman of the Senate Press Corps and signed by the National Assembly’s Director of Information, Agada Rawlings Emmanuel said any journalist or media house that did not meet the new requirements for the accreditation can’t gain access to the premises of the National Assembly on 11 of June, the date of the inauguration of the 9th assembly.
The memo from Emmanuel with the heading, “New guidelines for accreditation of media organizations, Journalists/Correspondents covering the national assembly,” said: I write to bring to your attention National Assembly’s Management approval of new guidelines for accreditation of media organization, journalists/correspondents covering the National Assembly effective June 11, 2019.”
“With this new guidelines in place, all previous accreditation granted to journalists covering the National Assembly-will lapse with the dissolution of the 8th Assembly.”
“Accordingly, all journalists/correspondents covering the National Assembly are by this press release advice to do the needful by getting afresh letter of recertification from their media organizations in line with the requirement of the new guidelines to facilitate the earliest reaccreditation process before the commencement of the 9th Assembly.
“Please kindly bring this message to the attention of members of your Press Corp,” the Memo addressed to the chairman of the Senate Press Corps said.
According to the memo, Number of journalists/correspondents to be accredited for prints, electronic and online media for Senate and House of Representatives respectively are: Television – 1 Reporter and 1 Cameraman, Radio, 1 Reporter, Independent Producers, 1 Reporter and 1 Cameramen, Online Media 1 Reporter and 1 Photographer.
The memo which was silent about the accreditation of print media, classified the accreditation into Permanent, Temporary, Foreign/lnternational Media Houses and Freelance.
On the requirements for the accreditation of journalists and Media houses must met before June 11, 2019, the National Assembly’s management said everyone must present evidence of certificate of incorporation of the media organisation, evidence of membership of professional bodies for media organization, proof of membership of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) with registration number, code of certification from the National Library for the media organization, functional Bureau in Abuja (Staff Strength not less than 5 Editorial staff and daily circulation of 40,000 copies for the print media with evidence to support the claimed circulation figure and that Media Houses must be publishing daily and on weekend (Applicable to Online Media).
Other conditions spelled out for the accreditation includes; “Re-certification form must be signed and endorsed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Media organization Bureau Chief, City Editor as the case may be, the Media organization concerned must have experience of covering proceedings of the National Assembly for at least two (2) years before applying for permanent accreditation, all media organization will submit a copy of its income tax return for the last two years, all online media must have at least 5000 viewership per day, the site must have been in operation for 5 years and provide satisfactory evidence to this effect with clippings of the news utilized (especially parliamentary news), only television stations with national coverage and specific independent producers with current running programme on the National Assembly will be allowed access into the Chambers on a permanent basis (All the production crew will be accredited as entity), all correspondents must attach photocopy of letter of appointment of the media organization on whose behalf request has been received for grant of accreditation,” all freelance journalist seeking permanent accreditation must show evidence of not less than 5 years coverage of the National Assembly proceedings/full editorial focus and publication on parliamentary reportage,” It is only Journalists and correspondence whose media organisations meet the above requirements for Permanent accreditation that will be entitled to carry National Assembly Identity Card/Membership of the respective Press Corp, All other media organization who do not meet the above requirement will be captured under the Temporary accreditation status and they will not be entitled to carry National Assembly Identity Card/Membership of the Press Corp of the Senate and House of Representatives.”
“All Temporary accredited media houses, journalists/correspondents shall be allowed permit into the National Assembly for specific coverage not exceeding one (1) week in the first instance and not more than twice in a month.”
“All foreign/international media houses seeking accreditation shall abide by all the Diplomatic Protocols established by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for foreign media organizations, the Code of Ethics for Nigerian Journalists and security clearance before accreditation will be considered upon the recommendation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”
“All permanently accredited journalists/correspondents shall submit recertification letter from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of their media organization on a sessional basis failure to which accreditation shall be withdrawn forthwith.”
“All accredited media organization will be considered as a single entity in the issuance of passes irrespective of their membership of Senate and House of Representatives Press Corp. This new accreditation guidetines shall come into effect from June 11 2019,” the guidelines said.
But in his reaction, the chairman of the Senate press corps, Mr Ezrel Tabiowo while reacting, said journalists covers the activities of the National Assembly by the virtue of the provisions of Section 22 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended adding they won’t accept any attempt to gag the media.
He advised the national assembly management to look for a proper way of carrying out the new accreditation by collaborating with the Press.