Stakeholders in the media industry yesterday urged government to implement policies that would ensure the safety of journalists across the country.
Former Chairman, Nigeria Bar Association, Ikeja Branch, Monday Ubani, made the appeal at a media roundtable at the International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos.
Represented by Evans Ufelli, he spoke on “Safeguarding Press Freedom and Safety of Journalists Amidst Rising Conflict.”
Ubani, who was the key speaker, said the safety of media practitioners is crucial to the enhancement of democracy, which entails an open society.
According to him: “A high degree of press freedom is needed to build an inclusive knowledge-based society, fostering dialogue, peace and good governance. A strong press freedom also eradicates impunity and violation of human rights.”
Ubani said despite the provision of Section 22 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), media practitioners have not been granted any special protection to carry out their constitutional obligations without interference and threats to life.
The Editor of The Nation newspaper, Mr. Gbenga Omotosho, said journalists’ safety start with the individual because there is no story that is worth the life of a journalist.
Also, the Chairperson, Nigeria Association Of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Lagos State chapter, Mrs. Sekina Lawal, condemned non payment of journalists by media owners. She said journalists are not safe even in their organisations, as long as they are being owed backlog of salaries.