The Nigerian Press Organisation (NPO) has taken a bold step to kickstart the new Ombudsman mechanism with the announcement of a nine-man board of the National Media Complaints Commission (NMCC), otherwise known as the National Ombudsman.
The commission is a major step by the industry to strengthen public confidence in the media through prompt resolution of issues bordering on ethical breaches in media content.
The NPO, comprising the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN), the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), with Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), mid-wifed the process with other strategic media players and the civil society, in particular the MacArthur Foundation
The commission members, drawn from the media, bar, the academia, and civil society are Mr. Emeka Izeze , FNGE, former Managing Director, Guardian Newspapers (Chairman), Mr. A. B Mahmoud, SAN, OON, former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, and a member of the Body of Benchers; Prof Chinyere Stella Okunna, Deputy Vice Chancellor, (Academic) Paul University, Anambra State; Dr. Hussain Abdu, a
Development & Humanitarian Specialist and Country Director, Care International (Nigeria) ; Mr. Lanre Idowu, FNGE, Editor-in-Chief, Diamond Publications Ltd. and Founder, Diamond Awards For Media Excellence (DAME); Mr. Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Mrs. Dupe Ajayi-Gbadebo, FNGE, a Journalist, Lawyer and Arbitrator ; Mrs. Eugenia Abu, Broadcaster, Author and Columnist, and Managing Partner/CEO, Eugenia Abu Media, and the Chair, House of Representatives Committee on Information
The commission will serve as an independent forum for resolving complaints about the press quickly, fairly, and free of charge; maintain high standards of Nigerian Journalism and journalistic ethics; and defend the freedom of the press and the rights of the people to know.
Prior to the announcement, each media house had been directed to institute at the newspaper level, the local Ombudsman. The National Ombudsman will serve as an appellate body for the local Ombudsman as well as a court of first instance.