The media and other sector-related laws have been signed into law by the President. This is a huge relief to the young industry, but it also presents many challenges to stakeholders, especially media practitioners.
First of all, there are no structures in place to facilitate the transition and ensure that practitioners do not abuse the liberties provided by the laws. For example, there is no body in place to work as a bridge between the media and the public in case of a grievance against a media house or a journalist.
Also, the new media environment could be too tempting that some practitioners might think that they can print or broadcast anything they wish, which is not the spirit of enshrining self-regulation into the law.
This, therefore, calls for support to help the nascent sector take the right steps while creating a better media environment for the benefit of the practitioners, the public and the country. This means that professionalism and ethic conduct are an obligation. Remember, freedom is not free. It goes with enormous responsibilities to self, society and country.
As we enjoy the space provided by the law, let us not forget our history. They say that only fools repeat history. Let us use this opportunity to ensure accountability and good governance to spur our country to self actualisation.
As and when a body to regulate the ‘self-regulated’ media, let it be supported by all that wish the media well to cement these gains. Let us not shame the trust entrusted in us. Let us not be our own enemies and shoot ourselves in the feet. After all, we have waited for this for too long.