By: Joy Odor/Abuja
Participants at the 2019 World Press Freedom Day have urged the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) to hold the media owners accountable to ensure the protection and welfare of journalists which includes insurance coverage.
They stated this in a communique issued at the end of the 2019 World Press Freedom Day Celebration in Abuja, organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in collaboration with the Free Press Unlimited, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Centre Against Brutality and for Safety of Journalist in Africa (CABSOJA), Centre for Impact Advocacy (CiA), and Safer Media Initiative, on Thursday May 2, 2019 at Rockview (Royale) Hotel Abuja, having listened to presentations and panel discussions and critiques of papers presented.
The participants also told government, media owners, NUJ, and NPC to continually to train and retrain journalists to ensure ethical standards, professionalism and gender inclusiveness are adhered to.
According to them, journalists should be given free access to report court proceedings on pre-and post-electoral issues in as much as such reportage is fair, balanced and conforms to the ethics and principles of the profession.
The enjoined journalists to uphold the ethics and professionalism of journalism practice, provide unbiased report to the citizenry before, during, and after elections for effective and efficient news reportage of democratic and electoral issues in Nigeria.
“Media is critical in providing information to shape the social, legal, political, economic and cultural perception and understanding of stakeholders’ and electorates’ participation in electoral processes.
“Government and media owners should prevent and avoid censorship, given the fact that media shape how we interpret and observe political information, such as election coverage and other political events.
“That government and media practitioners should embrace the use of technology in advancing journalism in times of elections.
“That journalist should be given free access to report court proceedings on pre- and post-electoral issues in as much as such reportage is fair, balanced and conforms to the ethics and principles of the profession” They noted.
The participants therefore called on the law enforcement agencies to recognize the constitutional rights of journalist to receive, hold, and disseminate information without hindrance to the public while journalists safety should be ensured at all times.