The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has rejected the new guidelines for the accreditation of media organisations and journalists covering the National Assembly, describing it as primitive, undemocratic and blatantly anti-press and anti-people.
The NGE spoke yesterday through a statement by its General Secretary Mary Atolagbe.
The guidelines issued by authorities of the National Assembly (NASS), which come into effect from June 11, 2019, demand among other draconian provisions that a media organisation wishing to be accredited for coverage of NASS activities should submit a copy of its income tax return for the last two years.
Other requirements include "presentation of evidence of certificate of incorporation of the media organisation, evidence of membership of professional bodies for the journalists, maintenance of a functional Bureau in Abuja (staff strength not less than 5 Editorial staff) and daily circulation of 40,000 copies for the print media with evidence to support the claimed circulation figure."
"These guidelines run contrary to the grains of reason, democratic ideals and they are a clear affront on the letter and spirit of the Nigerian constitution which empowers journalists to freely practice their profession without any gag, muzzling and restriction," the statement said.
The Guild expressed disappointment that the same 8th National Assembly which benefited immensely from free press in its moments of trial has turned around to put the same press in shackles and chains.