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RATTAWU decries gross neglect of media sector, threatens strike


ABUJA – The Radio, Television and Theatre Arts Workers Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU), on Thursday, decried the gross neglect of the media which it said resulted in serious decay in the sector.
Its President, Mr Yemisi Bamgbose, stated this in Abuja at a news conference to mark the 2014 Workers Day.
Bamgbose, who said that the decay was not only affecting performance of media workers, noted that there was clear evidence that the entire population would soon be seriously affected.
He noted with concern the fact that the sector was being underfunded, especially the digitisation process both at the federal and state levels.
“The stakeholders had on several occasions called the attention of government to the consequences of poor funding of the digit project.’’
He said such poor funding could lead to almost 70 per cent of Nigeria’s population losing access to television signal from June 2015,’’ he said.
The union also called on the Federal Government to stop a foreign company which was alleged not to have licence but was operating Digital Terrestrial Television in the country, contrary to the law.
According to him, the union also frowns at a situation where radio and TV licence fees are collected by the local government instead of broadcasting organisations.
He said several representations made to the National Assembly on the need to amend the constitution in favour of the media had not yielded any positive result.
Bamgbose, therefore, urged lawmakers to review the section of the constitution that backed that operation and amend it in favour of the media.
Consequently, he said, “the union will on Friday, May 9, embark on one-day warning strike as prelude to an indefinite action to call the attention of government to the issue.’’
While expressing concern of the union on the poor remuneration and general welfare of media practitioners, Bamgbose stressed that the morale of workers was at lowest ebb.
“This is because of the very poor condition of service in terms of salary, working environment and general motivation.
“Those that are retired are experiencing hardships as a result of inadequate gratuity and pension.
“These are people who served this country with all they had and have nothing to show for it because of poor pension arrangement.
“Our investigation shows that low payment of gratuity and pension is limited largely to the media profession and we cannot allow it to continue,’’ Bamgbose said.
According to him, stakeholders must come together to ensure a better future for the media in Nigeria. (NAN)

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