New Guidelines: ‘It’s Not The Job Of NASS To Demand Tax Clearance From Journalists’

Ignatius Igwe  
Updated May 22, 2019

The publisher of National Daily Newspaper, Sylvester Ebodaghe, has questioned the National Assembly on the new guidelines released for the accreditation of journalists.

Ebodaghe during an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said it is not the job of the Parliament to demand a journalist’s tax clearance before authorising them to cover plenary.

“All around the world, we have guidelines. We are not against guidelines; we want you to be clear as to who is coming into your space.

“But to start demanding for tax clearance that you must have a patron or circulation figure verifiable of not less than 40,000, the US Congress is not asking for your patron. They just want to be sure that you are gainfully employed.

READ ALSO: SERAP Urges Saraki, Dogara To Withdraw New NASS Media Accreditation Guidelines

“And that you will not abuse your privilege of having access to the chambers. And I think that is what we should be looking at. And not necessarily your tax clearance. They are not CAC; they are not FIRS. So it’s not their job to start asking for a tax clearance,” he said.

National Assembly Releases Details Of Its 2018 Budget

His comment comes two days after the National Assembly released new guidelines for accreditation of media organisations, journalists/correspondents covering the Senate effective June 11, 2019.

NASS in a letter signed by its Director of Information, Agada Emmanuel noted that all previous accreditation granted will lapse with the dissolution of the 8th Assembly.

Ebodgahe during the interview on Wednesday recalled that when the Senate had issues on the invasion and theft of mace, the media was solidly behind it.

He then wondered why the Parliament would issue out such a directive suggesting it may have a problem with media practitioners.

“This Assembly when it came under intense pressure during the invasion and all the crisis it has gone through, the best friend the National Assembly had was the media.

“So what problem do they possibly have with the media? All the tweets that were reproduced on various platforms, they were enjoying the manage. So it didn’t really matter who was drawing the attention to their plight as it were,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has said that the leadership of the Eight Assembly are not aware of the new guidelines to journalists reporting the National Assembly.

The Speaker, on Tuesday, said the leadership of the legislative arm is committed to the freedom of the press and promised to investigate the allegation promptly.