Says it’s time to provide safety kits and palliatives to journalists
The President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Comrade Chris Isiguzo,
Has made a passionate call on all tiers of governments especially state and the Federal to look into the welfare of Journalist and ensure that they are protected away from the prevailing danger that warranted other professionals to stay at home.
Comrade Isiguzo in a media release issued on Saturday, 20th March 2020 jointly signed by him and the National Secretary of the Union, Shuaibu Usman Leman said that it has become imperative to provide safety kits and palliatives to journalists to enable them do their work at a time like this.
The statement said, “It has therefore become imperative that we urgently call on the Federal and State Governments to provide safety kits and palliative to Journalists to enable them do their work in safety and relative comfort. Its also of great importance that government must come up with ways of cushioning the effect of this pandemic on Media houses in order to ensure they sustain the tempo of their coverage of this pandemic.”
The statement also advised that Journalists on assignment should bear in mind that responsible and ethical journalism is vital to the reporting of this pandemic and therefore must avoid sensationalism and scare mongering.
Journalists are also advised to avoid racial profiling but ensuring the protection of affected persons to avoid stigmatization; maintain accuracy and report facts; seek expert opinion where necessary and provide context and point people to authoritative and credible information sources and resources in view of the prevalence of fake news, among others.
“Most importantly, we must ensure that we stay safe bearing in mind that the pandemic is already taking its toll on all of us. In event of any emergency, the following lines are available for journalists to reach out to the National Secretariat: 08076032723, 08034004239.”
The Nigeria Union of Journalists also stresses “the fact that one of the fundamental rights of the citizen is to be well informed and that quality information is only possible in a safe environment where freedom of expression, freedom to inform and the right to know are exercised.”
“Regrettably, while the Covid-19 crisis confines the nation with unprecedented health, social and economic consequences, journalists are more than ever essential in publishing quality information. And this should be accomplished in complete safety.”
The President noted the increasing vulnerability of Journalists because they are at the forefront of daily reportage of developments from this pandemic adding that various states of the country are already on lockdown and the citizens confined to their homes but one thing remains constant; journalists are out there ensuring that the people are well informed of developments surrounding the rampaging Coronavirus.
He also stated that nothing indeed compares with the events of recent weeks in terms of the global impact on media around the world of Covid-19 and the unprecedented scale of the story, and the demands it is making on journalism and on journalists.