COVID- 19: NUJ Urges FG, State Govts To Provide Safety Kits, Palliatives To Journalists - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Saturday, March 28, 2020

COVID- 19: NUJ Urges FG, State Govts To Provide Safety Kits, Palliatives To Journalists


From  Jane Okafor, Abuja


The Nigeria Union of Journalists(NUJ) has called on  the Federal and State governments respectively to provide safety kits and palliatives to journalists to  enable them discharge their essential and onerous duty of serving the public with prompt and right information they need to make informed decisions on how best to stay safe as Nigeria and the rest of the world battle to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

NUJ recalled that one of the fundamental rights of the citizens 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 but said given the current challenge,   journalists have become even more prone to many risks.

In a joint release on Saturday by Comrade Chris Isiguzo (National President) and Shuaibu Usman Leman (National Secretary) sighted by The Daily Crucible, the NUJ leaderships said their members are now vulnerable since they are at the forefront of daily reportage of developments from the COVID - 19 pandemic. 

According to the leaders, it has therefore become imperative for the body to  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.

The release reads : "The NIGERIA Union of Journalists wishes to stress 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.

"At the moment, journalists have become even more vulnerable because they are at the forefront of daily reportage of developments from this pandemic. 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.

"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 us as journalists.

"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.

"Journalists on assignment should bear in mind that responsible and ethical journalism is vital to the reporting of this pandemic.

"We must avoid sensationalism and scare mongering, avoid racial profiling, ensure 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."


 

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