By Chukwuemeka Opara
Abakaliki – The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), South East Zone, says it will soon commence the verification of journalists in the zone to ascertain their qualifications to practice.
The South East Zonal Vice President of the union, Mr Petrus Obi, disclosed this during a courtesy visit to the management of the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, (AE-FETHA) on Thursday.
Obi said that a committee would soon be set up to carry out the exercise.
He said that the decision for the verification was taken during the last meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the union in Abuja.
“The decision is pursuant to Article 3 of the NUJ Constitution which stipulates the possession of a minimum educational qualification of National Diploma (ND) in Mass Communication for journalism practitioners.
“We are also working towards streamlining the activities of online news platforms to help reduce the menace of fake news and quackery in the zone.
“Journalism in the zone will no longer be an all comers’ affair as those who do not meet the requirements for practice will be shown the way out.
“The screening and the verification is going to start with me as the Vice President and will be applicable to all journalists in the zone no matter how highly placed.
“We intend to curb the ugly situation where people dupe unsuspecting members of society by claiming to be journalists, a situation where the social media has made everyone a journalist,” he said.
He noted that on assumption of office, the zonal leadeship of NUJ commenced the sceening of all online platforms in the zone, to ascertain the credible ones that were duly registered with the NUJ.
“I, however, plead with government to help alleviate the plight of journalists in the zone as the union has established a welfare package to cater for the families of the deceased members,” he said.
He congratulated the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of AE-FETHA on his reappointment and urged him to continue with his proactive policies that had made the hospital one of the best in the country.
In his response, the CMD of the teaching hospitals, Dr Emeka Ogah, commended the union for its efforts to sanitise the practice of journalism in the country.
Dr Ogah said that the move would curb the incessant blackmail of individuals by non genuine journalists.
“These quacks, through their activities, spread fake news like wild fire as exemplified in the social media last week that Dr Ogbonnaya Onu had been appointed Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF).
“I however commend journalists in Ebonyi as many of them verify information from the hospital, for instance, before publishing; this has helped in effectively clarifying contending issues,” he said.
He pledged to sustain the hospital’s policies of providing adequate health care to the people and ensuring that the relationship between it and the media was enhanced. (NAN)