By Chinonso Alozie
Owerri — A law to define the standard of operations of media houses in Imo State has passed second reading at the Imo State House of Assembly.
The sponsor of the bill, who is the Deputy Speaker of the Imo state House of Assembly, Mr Ugonna Ozuruigbo, said the bill was not to intimidate media houses.
He said: “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.
“After months of consideration and consultations 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 entitled: 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 the deputy speaker in a bid to improve newspaper publication.
“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.”
He stated that it had 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 N50, an amount that when reflected in the current financial and economic scale is visibly frivolous and unrealistic.”
The legislator posited that the bill will, among other things, create an appropriate framework for the effective organization of a newspaper industry and allied businesses that can compete in any part of the world.
The current registration fee is a mere N50, an amount that when reflected in the current financial and economic scale, is visibly frivolous and unrealistic.”
He also disclosed that the bill would define registration of newspaper houses and newsagents for appropriate documentation.
“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,” the deputy speaker said.