31/12/2010 15:52


Wife of the publisher of The Guardian Newspapers, Mrs. Maiden Ibru, has called on the National Assembly to pass the Freedom of Information Bill.
She said the passage of the bill would enhance access to information by the public and promote transparent and good governance.
Mrs. Ibru spoke to our correspondent during her 61st birthday thanksgiving service at Our Saviour‘s Church, Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos, on Wednesday.
She said further that the passage of the bill would enhance the practice of journalism in the country, describing as sad that media organisations and journalists were sometimes subjected to intimidation and harassment in the performance of their duties.
She said, “Virtually every day in this country, in communities, small and large news organisations reveal misconduct or betrayal of the public trust by public officials. They base their reporting on their own investigations, or, at times, those of the law enforcement agencies. Reporters are held in contempt of court for refusing to reveal their sources, sometimes subpoenaed to disclose government sources.
“It has never been easy as law enforcement agencies at times compel our reporters to divulge their sources of information. At times we are held in contempt of court if we fail to do so. This is against the ethics of the profession. When we refuse to reveal our sources to the law enforcement agencies, our reporters are detained and harassed.
“Journalism in the public interest sometimes requires reliance on government insiders with confidential information. But investigative reporting will be forever undercut if journalists are unable to protect the confidentiality of those who would seek to disclose wrong doings. You can not have democracy without a free press. Government should consider a Freedom of Information Law that would provide better protection for reporters.”



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