…as NUJ President laments lack of press freedom
By Marie-Therese Nanlong
The Acting Inspector General of Police, IGP, Usman Baba has commended the role played by journalists in the country’s quest to battle the dreaded COVID-19 saying just like the security personnel, some journalists too paid the supreme price in the course of carrying out their duties.
The Acting IGP who spoke in a virtual meeting held as part of activities to mark this year’s World Press Freedom Day, attended by Vanguard in Jos, acknowledged that the challenges facing the country require everyone’s support and charged journalists to practice their profession in the manner that will promote fairness.
Represented by the Deputy Commissioner of Police and Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, he noted, journalists in Nigeria have taken the risk in informing and educating Nigerians about COVID-19, which led to death of many, stressing that the nature of risk journalists take in informing the public during unrest is similar to that of the police who in most cases get killed in the line of duty and assured of giving support to journalists to be able to do their job in the interest of the country.
Earlier, the President, Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Chris Isiguzo, disclosed that more that over a hundred journalists lost their jobs in the last one year, due to economic hardship created by COVID-19 pandemic as most media organizations in Nigeria who could not cope with the economic hardship laid off many staff who were practicing journalists.
He decried the situation where journalists in the country are yet to fully enjoy the true meaning of press freedom because many practicing journalists in the country are being molested, and harassed by political public office holders without adequate compensation.
Diverse speakers at the online meeting acknowledged the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and advocated a free press to enable journalists practice their profession in a manner that will promote good governance and add value to the society.