Don’t Abuse Press Freedom-Kabral

The Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Kabral Blay Amihere, has cautioned that the absence of a regime of sanctions by the Commission must not constitute a license for abuse of press freedom, free expression and bad press. He explained “with greater appreciation of the significance of a free press to our democracy, and respect for the code of ethics of journalism, societies like ours can still have a good responsible press”. Mr. Amihere gave the caution at the launch of US News, a 16-page local newspaper to be circulated to the public free of charge. He pointed out that all those who use media platforms should recognize that verbal recklessness and irresponsibility could plunge the nation into an inferno. Mr. Amihere lamented that “what the Commission had not done for the past 19 years of existence is to ‘bite’ as some people demand it does, in the wake of negative trends in the media.” He explained, however, that the country was governed by a unique constitution which for good reasons chose press freedom and free expression as the wheel of its democracy. He indicated that “what the Commission has lacked over the years has been the needed resources to monitor, evaluate the media landscape with over 1,000 registered newspapers and magazines over 240 authorized private FM stations, a dozen more private television stations and fulfill the necessary constitutional requirement of promoting higher journalistic standards.” Mr. Amihere reiterated an urgent passage of the Broadcasting Bill since it offered great opportunity for better regulation of broadcasting which would also disabuse the minds of the citizenry of a non-existence of a regulatory body like the NMC. He admonished media houses to put in place self-regulatory measures to ensure sanity and professional standards reign in the media.