CROSS RIVER – NEWSPAPER LAW

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LAWS OF CROSS RIVER STATE

CHAPTER N3

NEWSPAPER LAW

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

SECTION

  1. Registrar to be appointed.
  2. Annual registration of newspapers, proprietors and newsagents.
  3. Certain newspapers top have a registered office, service and process.
  4. Penalty for failure to register.
  5. Offence: selling newspapers which are not registered.
  6. Misrepresentation or omission from return.
  7. Certified copies in and extracts from register to be evidence.
  8. Name and address of printer and publisher to be printed on newspapers.
  9. Name and address of editor of newspaper to be printed on newspapers.
  10. Offence.
  11. Delivery of signed copies.
  12. Non-delivery after notice.
  13. Newsagents to keep accounts monthly.
  14. Publication of false news in a newspaper an offence.
  15. Order of judge required for prosecution.
  16. In action for libel contained in a newspaper defendant may plead apology in certain cases.
  17. Interpretation.
  18. Short title.

SCHEDULE

Form and Fees

 

CHAPTER N3

NEWSPAPER LAW

A Law to regulate the Publication and Distribution of Newspapers in Cross River State of Nigeria and to register Newspapers and Newsagents

(2nd August, 1955)

[Commencement]

  1. Registrar to be appointed

So soon as may be the Commissioner shall establish a Registry Office and shall appoint a suitable person to be the Registrar under whose superintendence there shall be compiled an annual register in accordance with the provisions of this Law.

  1. Annual registration of newspapers, proprietors and newsagents

(1)     It shall be the duty of the proprietors for the time being of any newspaper to make or cause to be made to the Registry Office a return stating the title of the newspaper and the names of all the proprietors of such newspaper together with their occupations and places of residence.

(2)     It shall be the duty of every newsagent operating within the State to make or cause to be made to the Registry Office a return stating his name together with his occupation and place of business.

(3)     The returns referred to in subsections (1) and (2) shall be made within one month of the date of commencement of this Law or, in the case of any newspaper first printed in the State or circulated for sale in the State after the commencement of this Law, within one month from such date and thereafter in the month of January in every year.

(4)     The register shall be as in the form contained in Part I of the First Schedule and there shall be paid at the time of registration the fee specified in Part II of the First Schedule in respect of registration.

[First Schedule.]

(5)     A copy of the returns of all newspapers published in Cross River State of Nigeria shall be published in the Cross River State of Nigeria Gazette in the month of January in each year.

  1. Certain newspapers to have a registered office, service and process

(1)     It shall be the duty of every proprietor and every publisher for the time being of any newspaper printed in Nigeria outside the State which circulates for sale within the State to establish an office for such newspapers within the State ad to register such office at the Registry Office within one month of the date of the commencement of this Law or in the case of any newspaper first circulated for sale in the State after the commencement of this Law within one month from such date and thereafter from time to time as often as the address of the office of such newspaper is changed.

(2)     Notwithstanding the provisions of any rule of court or other written law, any suit or matter in respect of a libel contained in such newspaper may be commenced and determined in any judicial division of the High Court of Cross River State of Nigeria in which the newspaper containing such libel is circulated for sale.

(3)     Notwithstanding the provisions of any rule of court or other written law any process or notice required to be served upon the proprietor, publisher or editor of such newspaper shall be sufficiently served if addressed to the proprietor, publisher or editor and left at or sent by post to the address to the registered office of the newspaper.

  1. Penalty for failure to register

If within the period mentioned in subsection (3) of section 2 or in subsection (1) of section 3 a proprietor, publisher or newsagent to whom those sections apply fails to register he shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of fifty naira or three months imprisonment and in addition shall be ordered to pay the amount of the registration fee forthwith.

  1. Offence: selling newspapers which are not registered

Any person who circulates for sale or who sells a copy of any newspaper which is not registered under the provisions of section 2 shall be guilty of an offence and liable upon conviction to a fine of two hundred naira or to imprisonment for not more than six months.

  1. Misrepresentation of omission from return

If any person shall knowingly and wilfully make or cause to be made any return required by this Law in which there shall be any misrepresentation or from which there shall be any omission in respect of any of the particulars by this Law required to be contained herein whereby such returns shall be misleading he shall be guilty of an offence and liable upon conviction to a fine of two hundred naira.

  1. Certified copies in and extracts from register to be evidence

Every copy of an entry in or every extract from the register purporting to be certified by the Registrar shall be received as conclusive evidence of the contents of the said register so far as the same appear in such copy or extract, without proof of the signature thereto, and every such certified copy or extract shall in all proceedings civil or criminal be accepted as sufficient prima facie evidence of all the matters and things thereby appearing unless and until the contrary thereof be shown.

  1. Name and address of printer and publisher to be printed on newspapers

On the first or last page of each copy of every newspaper and supplement, there shall be added and printed the true and real name of the printer and publisher and the true and real description of the place of printing of every such newspaper and supplement and the total circulation printed of each issue of the newspaper or supplement.

  1. Name and address of editor of newspaper to be printed on newspapers

The publisher of every newspaper or supplement shall prominently print in each copy of each newspaper or supplement the true and real name and place or residence of the editor of that newspaper.

  1. Offence

Any person who shall print or publish or who shall cause to be printed or published any newspaper without complying with the provisions of sections 8 and 9 and any newsagent who shall sell any newspaper on which the names and occupations and places of residence of the printer, publisher and editor and the place of printing shall not be printed in accordance with the provisions of sections 8 and 9 shall, for every copy so printed, published, sold or circulated be liable to a fine of ten naira.

  1. Delivery of signed copies

(1)     On every day a newspaper is published, the printer or publisher thereof shall deliver, or send by post, to the Commissioner a copy of—

(a)     the newspaper so published; and

(b)     every supplement to it, signed by the printer or publisher thereof, which the Commissioner shall file and keep.

(2)     Where the printer or publisher is a company, the copy shall be signed by a director or the Secretary of the company.

(3)     A printer or publisher who fails to comply with this section is guilty of an offence. Penalty, a fine of ten naira.

  1. Non-delivery after notice

(1)     Notwithstanding—

(a)     a failure to deliver or send in accordance with section 11; and

(b)     a proceeding taken against a printer or publisher by reason of such a failure, the Commissioner may, by notice under his hand addressed to the printer or publisher, require that person to deliver forthwith, or send to him, a copy so signed of every newspaper which that person has failed to deliver or send or which has not arrived at the office of the Commissioner.

(2)     A person so required to deliver or send who fails forthwith to deliver or send such a copy as he has, in that notice, been so required, is guilty of an offence.

Penalty, a fine of one hundred naira for every day on which he fails to comply with that notice

  1. Newsagents to keep accounts monthly

(1)     Every newsagent shall keep proper monthly accounts with respect to all newspapers distributed by him and shall before the fifteenth day of each month submit to his employers an accurate copy of such accounts for the preceding month.

(2)     Any newsagent who fails to comply with the provisions of subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and liable upon conviction to a fine of two hundred naira or to imprisonment for six months.

  1. Publication of false news in a newspaper an offence

(1)     Any person who publishes or reproduces or circulates for sale in a newspaper any statement, rumour or report knowing or having reason to believe that such statement, rumour or report is false shall be guilty of an offence and liable upon conviction to a fine of four hundred naira or to imprisonment for one year.

(2)     It shall be no defence to a charge under this section that he did not know or did not have reason to believe that the statement, rumour or report was false unless he proves that prior to publication, he took reasonable measures to verify the accuracy of such statement, rumour or report.

  1. Order of judge required for prosecution

(1)     No criminal prosecution shall be commenced against any proprietor, publisher, editor, or any person responsible for the publication of a newspaper for any libel published therein or for any offence under the provisions of section 14 without the order of a judge in Chambers being first had and obtained.

(2)     Such application shall be made on notice to the person accused, who shall have the opportunity of being heard against such application.

  1. In action for libel contained in a newspaper, defendant may plead apology in certain cases

(1)     In an action for libel contained in any newspaper it shall be competent to the defendant to plead that such libel was inserted in such newspaper without actual malice, and without gross negligence, and that before the commencement of the action or at the earliest opportunity afterwards he inserted in such newspaper a full apology for the said libel or if the newspaper in which the said libel appeared should be ordinarily published at intervals exceeding one week had offered to publish the said apology in any newspaper to be selected by the plaintiff in such action and to such plea to such action it shall be competent to the plaintiff to reply generally denying the whole of such plea.

(2)     It shall not be competent to any defendant in such action to file any such plea without at the same time making a payment of money into court by way of amends but every such plea so filed without payment of money into court shall be deemed a nullity and may be treated as such by the plaintiff in the action.

  1. Interpretation

In this Law—

“editor” means any person appointed by the proprietor of a newspaper to superintend and be generally responsible for the publication of a newspaper;

“judge” means a judge of the High Court;

“local government body” includes a council established under a written law relating to local government in the State;

“the Commissioner” means the Commissioner for the time being charged with the responsibility for Information Services;

“newspaper” means any paper containing public news, intelligence or occurrences, or any remarks or observations thereon, printed in Nigeria and published or circulated for sale in Cross River State of Nigeria periodically or in parts or numbers at intervals not exceeding three months between the publication of any two such papers, parts, or numbers; also any matter printed in order to be displayed and made public periodically or at intervals not exceeding three months containing only or principally advertisements; but does not include any newspaper published by or under the authority of the Government;

“newsagent” includes any person who sells whether for himself or on behalf of another newspaper in a shop, stall or other structure whether movable or not, but does not include a street hawker of newspapers;

“proprietor” includes the sole proprietor of any newspaper, as also in the case of a divided proprietorship, the persons who, as partners or members of a firm or otherwise, represent and are responsible for any share or interest in the newspaper as between themselves and the persons in like manner representing or responsible for the other shares or interests therein and also includes a company or other corporate body.

  1. Short title

This Law may be cited as the Newspaper Law.

SCHEDULE

PART 1

Title of newspaper and registered office

Names of proprietors

Occupations

Places of residence

Name of newsagent

Occupation

Place of business

Registration fee

PART 2

Registration Fee

To register a newsagent ₦2

 

CHAPTER N3

NEWSPAPER LAW

SUBSIDIARY LEGISLATION

No Subsidiary Legislation

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