17 July 2011

Nigeria: International Press Institute in Nation, Parleys With Media Bigwigs On Freedomn of Information Act

The International Press Institute (IPI), yesterday, completed a week-long visit to Abuja and Lagos in Nigeria, where the delegation met with the IPI Nigeria National Committee, key media stakeholders and high-level government officials for discussions on the recently passed Freedom of Information Act, and to explore future IPI activities in the country.

The IPI delegation and executive members of the national committee included IPI Director Alison Bethel McKenzie and Naomi Hunt, IPI's press freedom adviser for Africa and the Middle East as well as IPI Nigeria National Committee Chairman Kabiru Yusufu, CEO of Media Trust Ltd.; National Committee Secretary, Raheem Adedoyin, publisher of ICON magazine; Bilkisu Bintube, IPI board member; and former IPI Board Member and, chairman of the board of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ)., Alh Ismaila Isa,, former IPI Nigeria national committee chairman and publisher of Vanguard newspapers, Mr, Sam Amuka, former IPI leader and former governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Osoba, the publisher of Peoples Daily, Mallam Wada Maida, the resident consultant of Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission, Mr. Folu Olamiti, the managing director of New Nigeria newspapers, Mallam Abdulrahman Tukur, among others.

Over the course of five days of meetings, the delegation, accompanied by several other IPI Nigeria National Committee members in Lagos and Abuja, met with Minister of Information and Communications, Labaran Maku, and President of the Senate, David Mark, as well as Executive Chairmen, publishers and editors from the African Independent Television,(AIT), Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), People's Daily, Media Trust Ltd., ThisDay newspapers, Vanguard newspapers , The Sun, Channels Television station, and the Lagos-based Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ).

McKenzie discussed with members and media stakeholders, among other things, plans for additional media training for working journalists and media students as well as other avenues of cooperation."We have a long and storied history in Nigeria," He said.

"We are proud of our colleagues for their hard and long fight to get a Freedom of Information Act, and believe that our visit has been both timely and appropriate as the Nigerian media renegotiate the way that they report. We look forward to the initiatives we will be completing in the region in the next two years."

The Nigerian National Committee is among IPI's largest and longest running.

IPI's involvement with press freedom and media development in Nigeria goes back nearly half a century, since IPI - with the support of the Ford Foundation - established the first journalism training program in Lagos in 1963, a precursor to today's NIJ. The Lagos-based Nigerian Institute of Journalism is today the only training facility focusing exclusively on media. Each year, it trains some 600 students and professionals, awarding certificates and degrees. The 1963 training program was modeled after an IPI initiative in Nairobi, Kenya two years earlier.

IPI is a global press freedom organization based in Vienna, Austria and dedicated to the furtherance and defence of press freedom around the globe

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