The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) has been named the latest recipient of the freedom of information (FOI) hall of shame award.
Media Rights Agenda (MRA) named NTA for allegedly failing to promote the FOI act and ensure its effective implementation.
MRA launched the FOI hall of shame on July 3, 2017, to draw attention to public officials and institutions that are “undermining the effectiveness of the FOI act”, 2011 through their actions, inactions, utterance and decisions.
In a statement in Lagos, MRA said it was aware of the irony of inducting a national news organisation into the FOI hall of shame.
It added that NTA should ordinarily be at the forefront of promoting the FOI act and advocating total compliance with the provisions of the law by other public institutions.
Mosunmola Olanrewaju, MRA’s programme manager in charge of legal matters, said the MRA was constrained to award the dubious honour to NTA because in addition to failing to promote the act and monitor compliance by other public institutions, the national broadcaster was itself consistently in “flagrant disregard of its statutory duties and obligations as a public institution covered by the act, thereby undermining its implementation and effectiveness”.
“The NTA, being the national television network, considering its wide reach and its key function, which is to provide news and information as a public service in the interest of Nigeria, is expected to set the pace by complying with all the obligations imposed on it by the FOI Act,” the statement read.
“As purveyors of information, one would have thought that compliance with the proactive disclosure obligations imposed on the NTA as a public institution would be second nature to it.
“Unfortunately, the reverse appears to be the case as the organisation does no proactive disclosure as required by section 2(3), (4) and (5) of the FOI Act.”
The body also said very little information is generally available on NTA’s website, which does not include the categories of information which the act specifically requires it to proactively publish to the public.