By; SADIQ ABUBAKAR, Maiduguri
The National President of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chief Chris Isiguzo has tasked media practitioners to observe their professional code of ethics in the discharge of their social responsibility by complying with the ethics of the professional especially during the 2023 general elections, towards ensuring peaceful and credible polls.
He also called on the media owners in Nigeria to improve on the remunerations and hazard allowances as well as provide adequate working tools for their journalists for the purpose of effective and professional performance and reportage.
The NUJ President stated this during a two- day capacity building workshop for journalists and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs )in North East Zone, organized by Center for Democracy and Development (CDD) in collaboration with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Conflict- Sensitive Reporting, 2023 General Elections and Countering Fake News held at Custodian Hotel Conference Hall Gombe on Tuesday and Wednesday.
He further noted that, “with good and improved conditions of service, no journalist will be waiting or collecting brown envelopes any more. But In Nigeria, journalists don’t have good renumeration which is even not coming regularly. No better condition of service by the media stakeholders, no hazard allowances, no adequate and good working tools.
“Journalists are left to work on their own. Some buy working tools with their money as employees. No hazard or insurance packages especially for those at war front or crisis areas across all the parts of the country. And now the journalists are expected to perform magic and even not to collect brown envelopes to sustain themselves and the job,” Isiguzo said.
The NUJ President added, “that is why we are now pursuing the issue of media rights where the rights of the journalists will be protected. To make the journalist have cover and rights in doing his or her job without further interference or accusation.
“As human beings, we also have our rights in doing our job as professionals. So, we should be seen to be doing our job as professionals. We have code of ethics and we also intend to review our code of ethics as other professions do through the presentation of our bills to the lawmakers for assent,” Isiguzo said.
He however, noted that the journalists are stakeholders in national unity, peace and stability and should be seen to be promoting peace, particularly, peaceful and credible elections by reporting objectively and factually without any bias or sentiment, but neutral and not being partisan to any candidate or political party.
Isiguzo further charged journalists as fourth estate of the realm, to always educate and enlighten the public, especially electorate on the electoral act and electoral process towards peaceful and credible elections for a better democracy.
“Hence journalists play a great role in any democratic setting,” he submitted.
The president who spoke extensively in his presentation titled, ”Role of the media in the conduct of peaceful elections”, stressed that, “the topic is apt, bearing in mind the critical role of the media in the delivery of credible and peaceful elections.”
Isiguzu also pointed out that, “it is imperative for media professionals to brainstorm ahead of the 2023 general election and prepare well for the task ahead.
“The media has a vital role to play in nation building by being active partners in the implementation of the development processes.
“The media plays a major role in keeping the citizenry abreast of current events and raising awareness on various issues in any society.
“As journalists, we are expected to develop a thorough understanding of the elections and the electoral process, an understanding of conflicts and convey these to citizens in a way that reflects the truth in all their complexities,” Isiguzo said.