As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the World Press Freedom Day 2020, the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) FCT Chapter has charged journalists and media workers to endeavor to report objectively, transparently, accurately without fear or favour.
This is just as it noted that the Journalists owe the profession, society and themselves the duty to report objectively.
Speaking in a statement signed by the Council’s Chairman Emmanuel Ogbeche and Secretary Ochiaka Ugwu, the NUJ FCT also charged journalists to take their personal safety as priority, while they continue to engage on how to provide support in this difficult period.
According to them, “This year’s celebration with the theme: ‘Journalism Without Fear or Favour’, comes at a very challenging time— Covid-19 pandemic. Here in Abuja as in other parts of the country and world, there is palpable fear, uncertainty and overwhelming dependence on the media for information and awareness on news and developments on the coronavirus pandemic.
“This places a burden on journalists and media workers in general to be at the front lines of reporting on the pandemic, and in so doing put themselves and their loved ones at risk.
“We are pleased that as colleagues, you have demonstrated the highest standard of ethics even in the face of obvious lack in terms of the provision of personal protective equipment by government and media owners, harassment and intimidation by security personnel and poor working conditions”, they noted.
You can ill-afford, as noted by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his statement, be partisans with those who have “given rise to a second pandemic of misinformation, from harmful health advice to wild conspiracy theories.”
Being the journalist that you are, you are “the antidote” to fake COVID-19 news through “verified, scientific, fact-based news and analysis.”
The NUJ commended all health workers and volunteers in the front lines against the coronavirus pandemic and urged them not to tire in the face of this grave threat to humanity.
“Furthermore, our expectation is that the Federal Capital Territory Administration and other local authorities will continue to engage constructively with all stakeholders especially grant access to journalists in their handling of the pandemic so that citizens and residents of the FCT will be well informed and counter the virus of fake news, disinformation, misinformation and conspiracies.
“Together, we will overcome COVID-19” the statement ended.