by Juliana K. Tauna, Kaduna
Journalists in Nigeria have been urged to ensure greater networking with media professionals in the academic, public service and at the level of governance as a way of mobilizing sustainable interest in advocacies on improved welfare and safety.
The need has also been stressed for journalists to have a reappraisal of the roles of media professional bodies and associations to make them more relevant to modern-day realities of the journalism profession and interested in promoting a conducive environment in which journalists will perform their duties.
This was contained in a communiqué signed by Executive Director of International Press Centre (IPC), Mr. Lanre Arogundade, so that there should be a review of regulatory provisions to make commitment to welfare of journalists by employers enforceable.
It also stressed the need for them to improve advocacy and campaigns for the welfare and safety of journalists by stakeholders in the civil society and, that, a special attention and provision of protective measures for women in the journalism profession, particularly as it relates to peculiarity of assignments, should be considered.
“Skills acquisition and capacity development should be prioritized by media establishments as part of the welfare package for journalists as well as journalists and professional bodies, which have not adequately prioritized campaigns for insurance policies to guarantee welfare at the workplace,” it further stated.
According to the communiqué, there should be dearth of legal and medical support for journalists, who are victims of abuses and brutality.
“Online journalists and journalists using the social media space are facing increasing threats from the government and security agencies in the guise of ‘fighting fake news, hate speech and cyber terrorism,’ and journalists face a serious challenge of deploying the instruments of freedom of information (FOI) Act for investigative purposes as a result of lack of institutional support from media establishments and poor response by government institutions,” it stressed.
The communiqué further emphasized that “Professionals
practicing and publishing
online must openly declare commitment to the upholding of the ethical and
professional standards of journalism as spelt out in Codes of Ethics/Conduct, while also taking necessary protection and safety measures.
“There should be sustained engagement with security agencies to push concerns relating to abuses against journalists to the front burner of ongoing clamor for reforms and sustainable commitment to early warning alerts and help-lines on safety of journalists as being piloted by IPC in Nigeria,” it said.
According to the communiqué, a special endowment fund to be managed by credible foundations should be established to respond to the compelling needs of journalists in jeopardy as a result of abuses, poor welfare, and neglect.