By Joseph Jibueze, Deputy News Editor
The Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN) on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to revive the newsprint industry.
It also urged the government to grant zero tariffs on paper to promote education.
NPAN decried what it called “encroachment on the freedom of the press and free speech, especially by state actors”.
It noted Nigerians’ guaranteed right to peaceful protest.
The association held its annual general meeting in Lagos, during which it elected a new executive.
They are Chairman, Trust Media Limited, Mallam Kabiru Yusuf (President); Chairman, Guardian Press Limited, Lady Maiden Ibru (Deputy President); Chairman, Blueprint Newspapers, Mohammed Idris (Secretary), and Chairman, Vintage Press Limited (publisher of The Nation) (Treasurer).
Others are Managing Director, Champion newspapers, Nwaduito Iheakanwa (Publicity Secretary); Chairman, Daily Times of Nigeria, Fidelis Anosike (Assistant General Secretary).
The ex-officios are Ray Ekpu, Sam Nda-Isaiah and Dennis Sami.
ThisDay publisher Prince Nduka Obaigbena joins his Vanguard counterpart Sam Amuka and former Ogun State Governor Segun Osoba as patrons.
The association deliberated on the state of the media, nation and the economy and noted “the absence of paper culture on the newspaper industry in particular and the Nigerian economy in general”.
NPAN urged the Federal Government “to make a conscious effort to revive the newsprint factories in Nigeria towards improving the health of the newspaper business and paper industry”.
It added: “In the interim, the government should take the newspaper business as an educational venture and grant zero tariffs on paper to promote education and constitutional and civic duty of the media at holding the government accountable to the people.
“The NPAN, in particular, pays deserving attention to media education in Nigeria and supports the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ) to achieve the stated objective for its establishment, including an upgrade to a degree-awarding media training institution in the future.
“The NPAN views seriously the steady encroachment on the freedom of the press and free speech, especially by state actors and urge resistance through all legitimate means to any infringement on press freedom and free speech.
“Likewise, the NPAN holds that the right to protest is a fundamental human right that must be guaranteed by the Nigerian state in such a way as to stave off violence.”
The association urged the Federal Government to rise to its responsibilities of protecting life and property by stamping out terrorism, banditry and kidnapping.
It urged the government to rev its response to the COVID-19 pandemic by making aggressive effort to procure the vaccines from whatever sources as may be available and vaccinate citizens against the deadly disease.
NPAN said as the media is evolving because of digital intrusion, it “may need to take another look at the situation and respond as appropriate”.