The House of Representatives is working on a bill seeking to raise the qualification for journalism practice in Nigeria, making it compulsory for practitioners to have degrees or diploma in media-related courses.
The proposal is contained in the Nigerian Press Council Amendment Bill 2019 sponsored by Mr Francis Agbo, which has been slated for second reading.
The bill, a copy of which our correspondent obtained, particularly seeks to amend Sections 19 (1) (a), 19 (1) (b), 21 (5) (a), 21 (5) (b) and 35 of the Nigerian Press Council Act Cap N128 LFN 2004.
When amended, the new law will provide that “only a person who has first degree, Higher National Diploma in Journalism, Media Art or Communication, or postgraduate certificate shall practise as a journalist.”
It would also increase the punishment and fine for untrained and fake journalists.
Paragraph (a) of Section 19 (1) will be deleted and replaced with a new one that reads, “19(1)(a) he holds a first degree, Higher National Diploma certificate or its equivalence in Journalism, Media Art or Communication from any higher institution in Nigeria or elsewhere.”
“19(1)(b) in the case of a person who 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.”