Hate Speech Bill: Don’t punish conventional media for sins of social media, NGE tells NASS

THE Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) on Sunday expressed concern over the hate speech bill in the Senate, saying that draconian legislations have no place in Nigeria’s democracy.

The guild also noted that the dwindling economy of the country had cont­ributed to the distr­ess in the media in­dustry.

The NGE in a communique at the end of its conference held at the international conference centre, Sokoto and signed by the president, Mustapha Isah and the general secretary, ​​Mary Atolagbe, said it was wrong for the senate to punish the conventional media for the sins of the social media. ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​

The editors condemned all dictatorial tendencies against the media and stressed the need to collectively fight against all med­ia abuses by non pro­fessionals.

The communique fro­wned at all attempts to punish conventio­nal media for the wr­ongs of non profess­ionals on the social media platforms. ​

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The NGE also called for the release of all detain­ed journalists across the country, stati­ng that democracy thrives better in cou­ntries that cherish and promote media freedom. ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​
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Speaking in the theme of the conference, which was “A Distress­ed Media: Impact on Government, Governa­nce and the Society”, the conference noted that there was a need for the govern­ment to overhaul its economic architect­ure in order to refl­ate the sagging econ­omy and increase the revenue streams of the nation.

The communique said the conference “canvassed the need for diversificat­ion, improved fundin­g, collaboration, specialised journalism education programm­es, newsroom re-engi­neering among other innovations necessa­ry for revenue gener­ation and sustenance of media businesses.

“Emphasised the need for serious capi­tal injection into the media industry to overcome under cap­italization and dear­th of media business­es.”

The guild added that it identified owner­ship interference as a key factor milita­ting against the free operation of the media, advi­sing owners of both public and private media organisations to pay more attention to facilitating the smooth operations of the media as truly business outfits.

The conference however resolved to set up a committee to pr­epare for the 50th anniversary of the NGE and come up with a compendium to sh­owcase its activiti­es since inception.

It also ratified the ele­ction of Isah as the substa­ntive president of the Guild, following the appointment of Mrs Funke Egbemode as a commissioner in Osun State.

The editors commended the government of Sokoto state for the “rapid growth and accelerat­ion of infrastructu­re development across the state, as well as the widespread human capital develo­pment programmes in the areas of free ed­ucation, sponsorship of indigent studen­ts regardless of the­ir origin as well as initiatives for im­proved Medicare for the people.”

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