By Evelyn Okakwu
The federal government has been called upon to make and implement a law, mandating the safety of journalists in the country.
Speaking during a workshop to address the challenges of ensuring a safe environment for journalists, the Kaduna state Police Commissioner, Umar Shehu said it is common knowledge that while other professionals like engineering have standing rules on the use of safety preventive measures on the field of work, the journalists in Nigeria expose themselves to dangerous scenarios without any measure of protection.
Speaking also at the event, the Kaduna state Police Commissioner, Ben Bako commended the efforts of UNESCO and the Nigeria Union of Journalist, NUJ for putting together the workshop adding that the choice of the theme: “Promoting te safety of journalism in Nigeria”, was perfect and timely.
Also at the event; the Guest Speaker, Dr. Sola Adeyanju, a lecturer with the department of Mass Communication, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria noted that journalists are highly regarded in the need for production of news and other information, but are neglected in the matters relating to provision of safety for journalists.
“Journalists are everyday people with their own needs. Therefore in the event, like the prevalent one where most media houses fail to pay their workers; the situation can only further heighten the tendency for corruption on the job. And corruption in Nigeria is fast becoming an acceptable num, making it difficult to attain investigative journalism”.
He added that there is an increasing intolerance for media reporting by government, stressing that the situation is heightened by the sentimental or subjective stand of most media owners.
He called on media practitioners to engage in self censorship; “know what to write and what not to write”.
Some of the challenges facing journalists enumerated by stakeholders at the workshop include; lack of remuneration for workers, hostility from the community, especially where the community hates the medium, lack of adequate working equipment, among others.