New law defines a fresh landscape for our media

The new media law will be published in the official government gazette soon, having been assented to by the President. As we wait for this new law to be operational, we can confidently say that from here we can only move forward.As early as next week we shall be operating by a whole set of new media terms of reference all together, some of them really striking.For a number of reasons, both journalists on one hand, and media consumers on the other, will be celebrating. 

The new media law will be published in the official government gazette soon, having been assented to by the President. As we wait for this new law to be operational, we can confidently say that from here we can only move forward.

As early as next week we shall be operating by a whole set of new media terms of reference all together, some of them really striking.

For a number of reasons, both journalists on one hand, and media consumers on the other, will be celebrating.

Take the provision that no longer is the profession going to be for anybody who can write or say anything. It is becoming a craft for the trained, the experienced, or the formally studied. Grade six of senior secondary education shall be a basic requirement.

Nothing has the potential to uplift the professional standards in the media industry than specifically demanding that practitioners possess minimum academic qualifications.

Minimum capital requirement for prospective investors in the sector is one other element this law boldly addresses. People have been setting up media firms, especially newspapers, with barely enough resources for operational, administrative and other costs over time.

Their business plans, if any, have rarely factor sustainability beyond the first few publication issues.

The result has often been publications registered as weeklies, but actually coming out after three months, sometimes once a year.

Lack of proper budgeting by some media outlets has also been the reason journalists working for them are not paid regularly.
But if any article in the new law is going to leave scribes nodding endlessly in approval, it is the one that threatens to fine information hoarders.

The right to access information by those intending to publish it in public interest is now guaranteed by law.

That said, as they thump the air in triumph, I hope journalists realize they will do more than have a drink: they have lost the excuse for not talking to at least three sources.   

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