Legislate Laws for Journalists’ Safety, NUJ Charges NASS

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Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

Lawmakers at the National Assembly have been charged to enact laws that would ensure the safety of journalists in the country for professional discharge of their duties.

The call was made yesterday in Port Harcourt, at the opening ceremony of the correspondent’s week, which was organised by Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Rivers State.

In his address, the Chairman of the Correspondents Chapel, Mr. Amaechi Okonkwo, noted the challenges faced by the media and journalists that had made it impossible for them to operate at a full capacity and avail the nation the benefits of their highly important services.

Okonkwo stressed that only an empowered journalist is an asset to the nation. “An empowered journalist is an investigative journalist and an investigative journalist is a developmental journalist, a catalyst to a free, egalitarian and progressive society, the type our nation is in dire need of at this time of its developmental history.

“So we passionately plead that government at various levels, the National Assembly, media owners and practitioners should synergies to ensure that members of the fourth estate of the realm indeed come to their real estate in the realm.

The Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications Mr. Paulinus Nsirim, stressed the need for journalists to continue to hold public office holders accountable in all their actions.

He admitted that journalists were facing some challenges, from hoodlums, thugs even security agents.

Nsirim, who was represented by the Director, Public Enlightenment of the Ministry, Mr. Celestine Ogolo, said that the governor of the state, Mr. Nyesom Wike, has granted unhindered access to information in the state.

Declaring the event open, Nsirim emphasised that the governor has done well in providing enabling infrastructures, pointing out that Rivers State in the near future will become a model to other states in the country.

In his speech, the Chairman of the Event, Mr. Ogbonna Nwuke, said that “journalism will continue to determine the future of the society as Fourth Estate of the Realm.

Nwuke, who was also a former member of the House of Representatives at the National Assembly, commended the Correspondents’ Chapel for organising the press week, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.