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NUJ Demands Protection For Media Workers

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NUJ Demands Protection For Media Workers

By Abdullahi Ahmad Bamalli

Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) FCT has called for the protection of journalists to enable them to perform their constitutional duties without fear or favour.

In a statement released yesterday in Abuja in commemoration of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists with the theme: Keep Truth Alive: “Protect Journalists, Protect the Truth” jointly signed by Comrade Emmanuel Ogbeche and Ochiaka Ugwu, chairman and secretary, respectively, the union noted that journalists have become increasingly endangered for reporting the news which is a constitutional mandate.

The statement maintained that the government should investigate and prosecute all criminal acts committed against journalists in an impartial, independent, effective, transparent, and timely manner to show commitment to ending impunity against media workers.

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The statement reads in part, “media workers especially journalists put their lives in danger to report the news as it is for the public good only to be made to face harassment, intimidation, and sometimes physical attack.

“Their impartial account and accurate reportage serve a fundamental public good which can have decisive impact on the development of the nation.

“We call for more vigilance as the 2023 polls approach, because journalistic work is often deliberately obstructed during elections by both state and non-state actors who will stop at nothing to have the reportage on their own terms instead of objective manner.

“Make no mistake about it, media professionals face access denial, censorship, and harassment, as well as arbitrary detention and brutal attacks. It is on record that several journalists have been killed or injured since 2015, sometimes deliberately targeted, while trying hard to report the truth about the activities of political office holders and some influential politicians.“The fact remains that their work is essential, as we wind down to 2023 polls where most political players will stop at nothing to get what they want. They will even want to gag the press and deliberately wage news propaganda on the realities of the elections.

“Apart from the elections, journalists have com under attack for reporting some corrupt acts. They face increasing threats for reporting the truth and have become victims of hate crimes, harassed online, sent death threats and outright murder.

“All agents of state must put an end to impunity for these crimes and uphold the rights of media practitioners and the rule of law by providing justice to victims. It is disheartening that most offenders have not been held to account for their acts against journalists and journalism,” the statement read in part.

While the NUJ calls on both government and media houses to provide journalists with protective equipment necessary for election coverage to enable them to work maximally for public good, it insists that impunity for crimes against journalists must end.

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