Nigeria Senate Bars Over 10 TV Stations From Plenary Coverage

It effectively reduces the number of accredited television stations permitted to cover Senate sessions to just seven.
Members of the Senate
Members of the SenateGoogle

Then Nigerian Senate has taken measures to limit media access to its proceedings, restricting the coverage rights of over 10 television stations and numerous photojournalists. The decision, which was communicated through a circular signed by the Clerk of the Senate, Chinedu Akubueze, came into effect on Tuesday.

It effectively reduces the number of accredited television stations permitted to cover Senate sessions to just seven. The accredited TV stations include Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Channels, African Independent Television (AIT), Television Continental (TVC), Arise News, Newage, and ADBN.

However, the move to exclude several other media outlets has sparked controversy and raised concerns about transparency and accountability in the legislative process. The restriction comes amid ongoing discussions between the Senate Press Corps and the Senate administration to address issues related to media coverage within the chamber.

Members of the Press Corps expressed shock and dismay at the Senate's decision to bar certain TV stations while negotiations were still ongoing. This is not the first time such restrictions have been imposed by the Nigerian Senate. In 2017, during the tenure of former Senate President Bukola Saraki, the number of cameramen and photojournalists covering Senate activities was significantly reduced from approximately 40 to just 13.

The latest move has reignited debates about the role of the media in promoting transparency and accountability within government institutions. Critics argue that limiting media access undermines the principles of democracy and obstructs the public's right to information. The Nigerian Senate has yet to provide a detailed explanation for its decision to restrict media coverage.

However, the move has drawn condemnation from various quarters, with calls for the Senate to reconsider its stance and uphold press freedom as a fundamental pillar of democracy.

As the situation unfolds, journalists and media organizations in Nigeria continue to advocate for unrestricted access to legislative proceedings, emphasizing the importance of a free press in holding elected officials accountable and safeguarding democratic values.

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