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Published On: Tue, May 19th, 2020

COVID-19: FG urged to consider bailout fund for Media industry

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From Raji Bello, Sokoto

Stakeholders in media industry have called on the Federal Government for financial intervention in tackling financial crisis rocking the Nigerian media in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic.
In a communique issued at the end of the National Media Virtual Roundtable jointly organised by ActionAid Nigeria and Journalists Against Poverty, the stakeholders reasoned that mass downsizing and job losses in the media industry may pose a security threat as unemployment is a key driver of insecurity.
According to the communique: “Hence the Nigerian media might need to consider an urgent bailout structure that will not compromise its independence bearing in mind the large number of Nigerians employed by the industry.
It noted that Government at all levels must come to terms with the reality of the media’s importance to the growth of democratic tenets, and that attacks on the media should be halted if the nation desires to come out of its woods.
“Stakeholders and government need to jointly develop a legal framework to guide and effect bailout in the media industry without prejudice as applied to the banking, telecommunications and aviation industry and without recourse to politicking its intervention and abuse of power or as a means of control.
“Media owners, managers and practitioners should recognise that digitalisation has come to stay for good, thus evolve, be more creative, innovative and technology driven in order to survive.”
It also urged the media and CSOs should better coordinate as allies to attain the mutual objective that puts the interest of Nigerians at the center, adding that “CSOs to support media’s full transition to digitalisation by building capacity of journalists and bring back activism as in the days of old where public interest based on truths and selflessness determined media contents.”

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