Nigerian journalists under the aegis of the Nigerian Union of Journalists marched across different states on Thursday to protest against the incessant harassment and victimisation of their members by security agents during their reportorial duties.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the protest was in line with the directive from the National Secretariat in Abuja in order to raise awareness and gain more support to fight impunity against the media.
In Zamfara State, the acting chairman of the NUJ, Abubakar Ahmed, in a letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari titled “Protection of Nigerian Journalists” said the Nigerian society lacked knowledge of journalism and its constitutional role in the development of the country.
“We abide by the resolutions contained in the letter regarding needs for government at (all levels to implement declaration of principles in Freedom of Expression in Africa, which says clearly that ‘No one shall be subject to arbitrary interference with his or her freedom of expression,” the letter said.
In Abia state, journalists protested on the street with placards with the inscription such as: “stop harassing journalists”, “journalism is legitimate and a legal profession”, “FG should stop intimidation of media men”, “Democracy cannot survive without media amongst others.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the protest in Akwa Ibom, led by the state’s chairman, Patrick Albert, started at the Press Centre, Uyo, with journalists who marched through the state’s News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) office with placards demanding better welfare of Journalists.
They also called for proper implementation of the right to freedom of expression, opinion, and to seek, receive and impart information through any media.
Similar protest led by Qasim Akinreti also held in Lagos as media practitioners were said to be at the state’s governor’s office in Alausa with a copy of a letter expressing their displeasure over the molestation of their members and with different placards that buttressed the purpose for the protest.
Journalists in Ondo State also converged at the union’s secretariat in Akure to express their dissatisfaction over the attitude of security men towards journalists and media organisations while discharging their duties.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the protests held simultaneously in other different chapters of the union across the country.
The Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) and the Coalition of Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF) on Tuesday organised a roundtable discussion centred around the welfare of Nigerian journalists in Abuja.
Spokesperson for the organization, Stephanie Adams, said the “campaign is to advocate for and highlight the welfare status of Journalists in Nigeria while seeking new creative responses for better working conditions of service for journalists, including welfare provisions for journalists and their families in the event of proven cases of extreme hardship and neglect by their employers.”
The coalition said it hopes the campaign will create a positive impact on Nigerian Journalists by helping find ways of restoring the dignity of Journalists as well as help lobby and advocate for a better welfare for members.