Sector 1:
Freedom of expression, including freedom of the
media, are effectively protected and promoted.
1.1 Freedom of expression, including freedom of the media, is 		
guaranteed in the constitution and protected by other pieces
of legislation.
The 1999 constitution which is the one currently in force has been
widely criticized as a product of its military antecedents. Its ambivalent attitude to media freedom, giving it with one hand, but
taking away from it with the other hand illustrates the point. For
example, while the constitution in broad terms guarantees media
freedom and freedom of expression in Chapter IV, Section 39. Section 45 of the same chapter introduces limiting conditions to the
exercise of these rights. The most explicit section on media freedom and implicitly freedom of expression is in Chapter II, Section
22, where the media are obliged to monitor governance and to hold
the government accountable to the people.
This suggests that the constitution recognizes and crafts out a role
for the media in the sustenance and enablement of democracy. The
failure of the legislature to pass a Freedom of Information Bill (FOI)
which was initially proposed by a coalition of civil society activists
in 1999 is indicative of the tentative status of press freedom. Another indicator is the fate of yet another bill related to the media:
the Journalism Enhancement Bill, not passed by Parliament.
Furthermore, the latest FOI draft was very bad. According to its
Section II the media would have had to give reasons for why they
require certain information that would satisfy the courts. This was
felt to be unacceptable. Perhaps a good illustration of the status
of freedom in the constitution is the failure of Media Rights Agenda
(MRA) to get the court to uphold its request to have access to the
African Media Barometer - Nigeria 2008			


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