By Fortune Abang
Abuja – Mr Abdulwaheed Odusile, National President of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), has stressed THE need for proper sensitization on role of the media, to end impunity for crimes against journalists.
Odusile said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja, on the sideline of activities to mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.
The day, celebrated globally on Nov. 2, was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly to commemorate the assassination of two French journalists in Mali in 2013.
According to him, sensitisation is the only way the world can stop all forms of crimes against journalists.
Odusile said, “it is important we educate governments at all levels, about role of the media in the society and on why we are crucial to the development of this democracy.
He said journalist should be seen as promoters of safety and prosperity of our country and government officials must be made aware that journalists were not adversaries, but patriotic citizens working for the same goal.
“W must let them know that our roles as enshrined in the Nigeria constitution is to monitor governance and to hold government officials and arms of government accountable.
“If there is friction, for any reason, government officials should not use force or resort to self help to correct whatever they think is wrong.
“There are laid down rules and regulations, the highest is for them to go to court and challenge whatever we must have done and not to attack us physically.
“This is why we must educate both our members and governments, particularly those who have taken it upon themselves to act violently on our members.”
He urged Journalists to always avoid acts that could result to violent attack in the cause of their job, but employ dialogue to sensitise people about their role in the soceity.
In a separate interview, Mr Paul Ella, Chairman of FCT chapter of the NUJ, urged governments to always treat journalists with all respect.
He said that lack of respect for the profession contributed to abuse often faced by journalists in the field.
According to him, the journalism profession must be respected and media owners should take their staff serious by paying their wages as at when due.
“Journalists should be taken seriously because of the magnitude of work they do in bridging the communication gap in governance processes,”
He further said that efforts were on to ensure every journalist was registered with the union to tackle prevalence of quacks in the profession.
He urged journalist to always verify their stories and adhere strictly to the ethics of the profession in the discharge of their duties.
NAN reports that the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists raises awareness about violence against journalists. (NAN)