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Buhari, Gbajabiamila acknowledge media contributions to legislature, democracy

...As Reps unveil The Green Chamber Magazine, official lapel pin

President Muhammadu Buhari has acknowledged that information about the activities of the legislature, particularly the House of Representatives, including sponsored motions, bills passage and committee assignments, is obtained mostly from what is reported in newspapers, the electronic media and the new
media.

Buhari who made this observation Wednesday at the unveiling of The Green Chamber Magazine and official lapel of the House in Abuja, however said, in some cases, such information is distorted, leading to the poor perception of lawmakers and what they do.

The President represented by Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed said, The Green Chamber Magazine, will correct any distortion and become the authoritative voice of the House.

He said access to correct information will not only burnish the image of the House but it will also illuminate the great work that Members are doing in the House, including the enormous work that goes into the passage of a bill as well as committee duties.

“Hitherto, the public perception of the National Assembly is that of a bicameral legislature where overly comfortable and highly-overpaid members merely stuff wads of currency notes into their pockets for little work done. This wrong perception has resulted partly from the lack of understanding of the enormous work of lawmakers, especially outside the glare of television cameras.

“But with a magazine that will be the authoritative source of anything that goes on in the House – motions being moved, bills being passed, national issues being discussed and constituency projects -the public will be better informed on the activities of the House, and this will in turn reflect in an improved public perception.

“In addition, it will help the House to tell its own story, rather than relying on others to take charge of their narrative. It is said that no one can tell your story better than you. Coming at this time, when fake news and disinformation have become an avalanche, it is a most welcome innovation that I am sure will help counter the scourge of fake news and disinformation, especially as it affects the House”, the President added.

In his remarks, Speaker of the House of Representatives expressed absolute confidence that the Nigeria’s democratic settlement could never have been achieved without the noble daring of the press.

According to him, the platform being launched is dedicated to the practice of a true and noble journalism, acting always in the best interests of the people, rejecting the temptation to use the power of the word for evil, when there is so much good yet to do.

“The Green Chamber magazine is not a propagandist outlet. Our service to the people who elected us, is not enabled in any way by having at our beck and call, a media outfit that exists to massage our egos and tell us what we want to hear.

“Public service always benefits from being held to impartial account. Any public service conducted in secrecy is suspect. The vision for the Green Chamber Magazine is that through this platform, the 9th House of Representatives may contribute to the enthronement of a journalistic tradition that is grounded in the ideals of honest reporting and focused on making real the old promise of open government”, the Speaker explained.

James Kwen, Abuja

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