National Assembly Releases New Guidelines for Media Coverage of Ninth Assembly

Management of the National Assembly has released new guidelines for accreditation of media organisations, journalists/correspondents covering the Senate effective June 11 2019.

According to a signed letter from the Director of Information, National Assembly, Agada Emmanuel, on May 15, 2019, to the Senate press Corps, addressed journalists and media organisations to note that all previous accreditation granted will lapse with the dissolution of the 8th Assembly.

He also stated that the accreditation come in four forms – Permanent, Temporary Foreign/international Media Houses and Freelance.

While Television and Independent producers will have one reporter and one cameraman, online media will have a reporter and a photographer, Radio will have a reporter.

However, media houses are to present; Evidence of certificate of incorporation, Evidence of membership of professional bodies, Proof of membership of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) with registration number, Code of certification from the National Library for the media organization, 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.

Below is the full guidelines issued by the National Assembly, which will take effect from June 11, when the ninth National Assembly will be inaugurated.

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY NEW GUIDELINES FOR THE ACCREDITATION OF MEDIA ORGANISATIONS, JOURNALISTS/ CORRESPONDENTS COVERING THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

1.0 Number of journalists/correspondents to be accredited for prints, electronic and online media for Senate and House of Representatives respectively

1.1 Television – 1 Reporter and 1 Cameraman

1.2 Radio 1 Reporter

1.3 Independent Producers – 1 Reporter and 1 Cameraman

1.4 Online Media 1 Reporter and 1 Photographer

CLASSIFICATION OF ACCREDITATION

2.1 Permanent Accreditation 2.2 Temporary Accreditation

2.3 Foreign/international Media Houses 2.4 Freelance

3.0 REQUIREMENT FOR PERMANENT ACCREDITATION OF JOURNALISTS/CORRESPONDENTS FOR PRINT, ELECTRONIC AND ONLINE MEDIA ORGANISATIONS

3.1 Evidence of a certificate of incorporation of the media organisation.

3.2 Evidence of membership of professional bodies for a media organization.

3.3 Proof of membership of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) with a registration number.

3.4 Code of certification from the National Library for the media organization.

3.5 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.

3.6 Media Houses must publish daily and on weekend (Applicable to Online Media).

3.7 Re-certification form must be signed and endorsed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Media organization Bureau Chief, City Editor as the case may be.

3.8 The Media organization concerned must have experience of covering proceedings of the National Assembly for at least two (2) years before applying for permanent accreditation.

3.9 All media organization will submit a copy of its income tax return for the last two years.

3.10 All online media must have at least 5000 viewership per day, the site must have been in operation for 5 years and provide satisfactory evidence to this effect with clippings of the news utilized (especially parliamentary news).

3.11 Only television stations with national coverage and specific independent producers with current running programme on the National Assembly will be allowed access into the Chambers on a permanent basis (All the production crew will be accredited as an entity).

3.12 All correspondents must attach a photocopy of the letter of appointment of the media organization on whose behalf request has been received for grant of accreditation.

3.13 All freelance journalists seeking permanent accreditation must show evidence of not less than 5 years coverage of the National Assembly proceedings/full editorial focus and publication on parliamentary reportage.

4.0 It is only Journalists and correspondence whose media organisations meet the above requirements for Permanent accreditation that will be entitled to carry National Assembly Identity Card/Membership of the respective Press Corp

5.0 All other media organization who does not meet the above requirement will be captured under the Temporary accreditation status and they will not be entitled to carry National Assembly Identity Card/Membership of the Press Corp of the Senate and House of Representatives.

6.0 All Temporary accredited media houses, journalists/correspondents shall be allowed permit into the National Assembly for specific coverage not exceeding one (1) week in the first instance and not more than twice in a month.

7.0 All foreign/international media houses seeking accreditation shall abide by all the Diplomatic Protocols established by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for foreign media organizations, the Code of Ethics for Nigerian Journalists and security clearance before accreditation will be considered upon the recommendation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

8.0 All permanently accredited journalists/correspondents shall submit recertification letter from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of their media organization on a sessional basis failure to which accreditation shall be withdrawn forthwith.

9.0 All accredited media organization will be considered as a single entity in the issuance of passes irrespective of their membership of Senate and House of Representatives Press Corp.

10.0 This new accreditation guidelines shall come into effect from June 11 2019.”

Press Corps Kicks

Meanwhile, the Senate press Corps has kicked against the new guidelines, suggesting that it suppresses press freedom and the ethos of parliamentary democracy.

In a response letter to the correspondence from the Director of Information, National Assembly, Agada Emmanuel, on Monday, May 20, 2019, Chairman of the Press Corps, Ezrel Tabiowo, said that the recent move poses an act of intimidation against journalists assigned to cover the National Assembly.

“We wish to state categorically that the new guidelines suppress Press Freedom and the ethos of Parliamentary democracy which the Senate Press Corps has over the years striven to uphold.

“In our assessment, we believe the recent move by the management poses an act of intimidation against journalists assigned to cover the National Assembly”

Tabiowo stated that the Press Corps has ensured that only credible media houses are accredited to be members of the body.

He urged the management to liaise with the leadership of the Corps to obtain a list of members who meet the requirements of membership