In a new bill presented to the house of representatives, Journalists in Nigeria must now possess a compulsory degree in Journalism or media related courses or face the risk of two-year jail terms or a fine of N200,000 if signed into law.
The bill also seeks to raise the minimum qualification for journalists in the country to bachelor’s degree or higher national diploma (HND) in journalism, media art, communication or related courses.
Those who have a first degree in any other course will have to obtain a postgraduate certificate in the aforementioned courses of study.
The legislation is contained in the Nigerian Press Council Amendment Bill 2019 sponsored by Francis Agbo, the lawmaker representing Ado/Ogbadigbo/Okpokwu federal constituency in Benue state.
The bill which has passed the first reading and slated for the second reading seeks to amend some key sections of the Nigerian Press Council Act Cap N128 LFN 2004.
The proposal seeks to amend sections 19(1)(a)-(b), 21(5)(a)-(b) and 35 of the Nigerian Press Council Act Cap N128 LFN 2004.
The Nigerian Press Council Act Cap N128 LFN 2004 was first enacted in 1992 to repeal the Nigerian Media Council Act 1988 and established the Nigerian Press Council (NPC), a body that guides the activities of Journalists in Nigeria.