THE Nigeria Guild of Editors ended its one-day Standing Committee Meeting in Lagos with an outright rejection of any effort to have a government-regulated Press Council, although it admitted the need for a regulation, writes Tony Adibe in the Daily Champion.

In a communiqué signed by Gbenga Adefaye and John Ndukauba, president and secretary of the Guild, respectively, and which was made available to Saturday Champion, the guild, commenting on the proposed Nigerian Press Council bill, said much as it acknowledged the need for regulation, it also restated its total rejection of any effort to have a government-regulated Nigerian Press Council. "The guild also restated its opposition to the criminal libel law and suggest that the law be repealed, like it was done in Ghana," the editors stated.

The guild also spoke on the proposed registration of journalists as contained in the Press Council bill, through the Nigerian Union of Journalists, insisting that it would be guided by Section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which conforms with the provisions of the African Charter on Human Rights, that the right to seek employment and to disseminate information should not be discriminatory.

The guild further noted that registration of journalists would be tantamount to licensing journalists, which, due to the precarious nature in our environment, should be discouraged, and also rejected outright the legislation of salaries and wages as proposed in the bill.

On the Freedom of Information Bill, which has so far raised so much dust, the guild strongly condemned the deliberate and continued effort of members of the House of Representatives to frustrate the passage of the FOI bill, emphasizing that it would keep a watch-list of members in the House who have elected to deny millions of Nigerians their right to know.

Click here to read the full report, posted on the Daily Champion's website.