The Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP) has opposed the new guidelines for accreditation of media organisations and journalists covering the National Assembly (NASS).
GOCOP, in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Olumide Iyanda, described the new guidelines, which are due to be effected from June 11, 2019, when the ninth National Assembly will be inaugurated, as a brazen violation of press freedom.
The Guild noted with disappointment such requirements that a media organisation seeking accreditation must have a functional bureau in Abuja with staff strength of not less than five editorial staff and daily circulation of 40,000 copies for the print media with evidence to support the figure.
Other requirements include: “All online media must have at least 5000 viewership per day, the site must have been in operation for five years and provide satisfactory evidence to this effect with clippings of the news utilised (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.”
These guidelines, according to GOCOP, do not only betray an attempt to gag the press and disrespect for the Nigerian constitution, they also portray a National Assembly that is ignorant of the operation and impact of the media in the 21st century.
GOCOP called on the leadership of the National Assembly to immediately reject the implementation of the guidelines, while calling on all media organisations and lovers of a free press to stand against any attack on the universally recognised freedom of expression.