The Nigeria Press Council (NPC) has proposed to the Federal Government of Nigeria to grant the right of licensing journalists in Nigeria to the Media Certification Board (MCB) in its place.
Mr Francis Nwosu, The Executive Secretary of NPC, proposed during a visit by Mr Mohammed Idris, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, to the NPC secretariat in Abuja.
Nwosu said the MCB would be responsible for the registration of all journalists in print, broadcast, and online platforms in the industry so long as they have journalism training and background.
“So long as you have journalism training and background you will be listed by the board as a practitioner. With that registration, we hope to have an industry that is both ethically and purely professional. We can do that by upgrading the Nigeria Institute of Journalism (NIJ) in Lagos and the International Journalism Institute, Abuja, as clearing houses for all journalism graduates in Nigeria,” Nwosu said.
He stated that practitioners who spend three or four years studying Mass Communication or Journalism would now go to NIJ or IJI for six months or nine months to graduate in journalism.
“The MCB will then license them to practice and come into the profession at a ceremony where they will all be registered, documented and licensed to practice as journalists. The idea is to create a profession under the MCB. Those licenses will be renewable at a time agreed upon by the Nigeria Press Organisation (NPO) at an agreed date and time for the renewal of practising licenses.
“The same applies to newspapers, magazines and publishers to take in some recommendations that the industry may prescribe. All media workers and media institutions will have a registration board to be controlled by the MCB and pay some money that goes to the maintenance of the NPC so it can generate its funds and run its affairs exclusive of government control and funding,” Nwosu said.
He added that all the functions currently spelt out in the Nigeria Press Council Act would be transmitted to the MCB to do the same thing as suggested except the NPO.
He told the minister that the idea was open for further debate and discussion by members of the industry, adding that the most important thing was the survival of the NPC.