By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
Arewa Online Publishers Association (AOPA), has challenged the Federal and states governments to demonstrate that the media is among those fighting against COVID-19 in the front lines by dolling out Special Palliatives for Journalists.
“The Association is asking both the Federal and State governments to practically demonstrate that the media is among the front lines in the fight against the pandemic by dolling out Special Palliatives and stop paying lip service.”
The Association is a statement signed by the Ag. Coordinator General of the Association, Joseph Edegbo, also gave it’s members, a pat on the back, for the professional excellence exhibited so far since the Outbreak of the Pandemic in Nigeria.
He noted that although journalists in the country have become unsung heroes, they remain committed to nationalism, a task that must be sustained.
“The fact remains that the key role being played by the media in general in the task of curtailing the pandemic is unquantifiable.
“It is sad to note that the Federal Government seems to be unmindful of how broadcast stations (‘Radio/TV) as well as the print media and the Online are toiling to sustain services to serve the public amidst the prevailing situation.” He added.
The Association enjoins members to strive to engage in Investigative journalism in view of the claims and counter claims associated with the struggle to curtail the pandemic either from individuals or Organisations.
According to the statement, “the purchase and distribution of Palliatives sourced from public funds, the alleged questionable implementation of the school feeding Programme and welfare of patients at Isolation centres among others should attract our microscope or journalistic competence.
“This move, should be considered necessary as almost all the Stories on COVID-19 emanate from government and its agencies with less findings from journalists.
“We can now quite agree that the much complaints of Fake News by government and its agencies have disappeared this time around because of the one-way traffic in our reportage.”
While acknowledging some of their colleagues who are Spokespersons for State Governors, like Borno, Kano, Niger and Zamfara States, for feeding the AOPA platform that serves as a common pool with their stories, the Association wishes to urge others to do same for wider spread of their stories.
“Members of the Association across the States should encourage the CPS or Director of Media to utilize the opportunity provided by the platform.
“AOPA also encourages lifting each others’ stories which should however be credited to the source.” The statement said.