TO further drive the quest for freedom of information in the country and promote good governance, a network of media non-governmental organisations (NGOs) has submitted a memorandum to the National Assembly seeking constitutional provisions to guarantee media freedom and independence, the right of access to information and the independence of media regulatory bodies.
Also, women in the country have been charged to contribute to the efforts to amend the nation’s constitution to enhance their wellbeing.
This appeal was made at the first National Female Constitutional and Political Conference in Benin City, by Imomosi Umolu. She said there was the need for Nigerian women to be practically involved in the constitution amendment and participation in national issues.
Umolu, who was the convener of the conference with the theme, “Together we will remake Nigeria” said the “conference is to articulate our ideas and thoughts as our own contribution towards the current efforts to amend the constitution.”
Jointly submitted by the International Press Centre (IPC), the Institute for Media and Society (IMS) and Media Rights Agenda (MRA) on the platform of the Media Network on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, copies of the 50-page memorandum were delivered separately by representatives of the three organisations to the relevant committees in the two chambers of the National Assembly – the Senate and the House of Representatives.
In a statement, the organisations said the proposals contained in the memorandum were developed in collaboration with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), and the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ).
They said other critical stakeholders and interest groups were also consulted, including through the convening of a consultative meeting held in Ibadan, Oyo State, on June 14 and 15, 2012.
The organisations argued in the memorandum that although the issues of media freedom and independence, freedom of expression and right to information were not specifically listed among the items in the “Call for Memoranda” issued by the Senate as issues upon which memoranda were requested from the public, “we believe that these are nonetheless critical matters that will promote good governance and improve the Nigerian State if adequate provisions are made for them in the proposed new constitution.”