The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Zone B has advocated the inclusion of freedom of the Press in the country’s 1999 constitution, which is currently being amended.
The call was contained in a statement signed by the Vice President of the zone, Mr. Dele Atunbi, to mark the World Press Freedom Day, saying the freedom of the press must be expressly granted as part of the fundamental rights in the constitution.
While drawing the attention of members of the National Assembly to Section 162 of Ghanaian Constitution which guarantees the Freedom of the press in that country, the union appealed to the federal legislators to take a cue from the Ghanaian experience and grant the Nigerian press the desired freedom.
The NUJ asserted that a free press is vital to the sustenance of democratic norms and values. It pointed out that since information is the currency of democracy, free flow of information through the instrumentality of the constitution will help in the body’s quest for an equitable and just society.
The NUJ also called for the inclusion of the Freedom of Information Act of 2011 in the 1999 constitution.
The Zone reaffirmed its call on the National Assembly to list the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in the Federal Executive Bodies as enshrined in Section 153 of the constitution.
It flayed the collection of radio and television licences by the local government as encapsulated in the Fourth Schedule of the constitution. The NUJ said the NBC should be saddled with this responsibility to manage the fund on behalf of the broadcasting establishments in the country.