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Bayelsa denies plan to gag media

28 March 2013, 07:13

Yenagoa - The Bayelsa Government said on Wednesday that its proposed bill on public information management was geared at checkmating the excesses of journalists in the state.

The state's Commissioner for Information, Mr Markson Fefegha, said at a news conference in Yenagoa that the bill would give legal backing to the work of the committee on public information clarification.

"The bill which the governor is proposing is not in any way aimed at gagging the media in the state as is being insinuated by some people.

"What the governor is proposing is a bill to give legal backing to the committee on public information management, which was inaugurated recently.

"We are going to take the committee down to the Local Government level, so that its task of information management can cover properly the nooks and crannies of the state."

He said that the governor, a lawyer and a former lawmaker, would never gag the press because he knew the important role of the media in the society.

Fefegha explained further that the committee's work was to bridge the gap that existed in the flow of information between the government and the people.

He said that the proposed bill was aimed at bringing value re-orientation to the people in what they say with regard to overall well being of the state.

In his remark, state's Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists  Mr Tarinyo Akono, expressed concern over the spate of rumour peddling in the state.

He said that the union had planned to organise a public lecture to address the development before the State Government came up with the idea of a committee.

Akono assured media practitioners in the state that the bill, when passed into law, would in no way impinge on their professional responsibility to the society.

"I am a member of the committee; I can assure you that the bill is not in any way to checkmate journalists from doing their jobs.

"It is not also aimed to impinging on the freedom of the press," he said.


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