The house of representatives is seeking to raise the minimum qualification for journalists in the country to bachelor’s degree or higher national diploma (HND) in journalism or other related courses.
The proposal is contained in the Nigerian Press Council Amendment Bill 2019 sponsored by Francis Agbo, the lawmaker representing Ado/Ogbadigbo/Okpokwu federal constituency.
The bill which has passed first reading and is slated for second reading seeks to amend some sections of the Nigerian Press Council Act Cap N128 LFN 2004.
The bill provides that anyone seeking to practice journalism in Nigeria must “hold a first degree, Higher National Diploma certificate or its equivalence in Journalism, Media Art or Communication from any higher institution in Nigeria or elsewhere”.
According to the bill, if an individual has a first degree in any other course, “he shall within five years obtain a postgraduate certificate in Journalism, Media Art, Communication or related field from any higher institution in Nigeria or elsewhere”.
Andrew Agbese, media aide to Agbo, said the bill will redefine the journalism practice and curtail quackery in the profession.
“The Bill has aroused interest in the media, given the extent quacks and fakes have infiltrated the industry, bringing the image of journalists to an all-time low in Nigeria,” he said in a statement.
“The Bill, when passed into law will address these challenges by redefining and refining the media industry and by extension, strengthening democracy and hence the need to define who a journalist is, what qualification qualifies him to be a journalist, and stipulates punishment for defaulters and quakes.