The Imo state House of Assembly today received a bill to repeal what has generally been described as an obsolete newspaper law as established under the laws of the Eastern Region of Nigeria.
After months of consideration and consultation within the media circle in Imo state, a fully packaged and adequately comprehensive bill was brought to the floor of the assembly to replace the old law.
The bill titled “A Law to REPEAL and RE-ENACT the Newspaper Law of Eastern Region of Nigeria, Law No. 24 of 1955 and Newspaper Law Edict No.3 of 1984 and other matters connected thereto”, was sponsored by Rt. Hon Ugonna Ozurigbo, the Deputy Speaker in a bid to improve newspaper publication.
According to the sponsor, the bill is expected to drive the booming newspaper sector of the state by properly ensuring that specific requirements are met before a newspaper is published or sold within the state.
In his presentation he stated that it has become essential to replace the law, which he described as obsolete, because it neither favours any of the players including the government.
You can’t imagine that in the current law registration fee is a mere fifty naira, an amount that when reflected in the current financial and economic scale is visibly frivolous and unrealistic.
The media savvy legislator posited that that the bill will among other things create an appropriate framework for the effective organization of a newspaper industry and allied business that can compete in any part of the world.
Continuing, the Deputy Speaker insisted that the bill will undoubtedly define registration of newspaper houses and newsagents for appropriate documentation.
“It’s unfortunate that for years now newspapers have been registering in Abuja thereby depriving the state of accruable revenue from the process”, he stated.
Furthermore Ozurigbo noted that the bill if made law will ensure that newspapers and news agents are duly registered according to other existing laws of the state in order to curb the indiscriminate influx of phony newspaper bodies and agents adding that there is no intention of gaging the press or illegitimising the practice of journalism in the state.
This bill is in no way intended to witch hunt any individual or group as some may perceive but elevate the standard of newspaper publishing.
The bill was deemed to have been read a second time and committed to the Committee on Information.