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Media Rights tasks media owners, NUJ on training, safety of journalists

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The Media Rights Agenda (MRA), an NGO for protecting and promoting press freedom, on Friday called on media house owners to equip journalists with relevant trainings, to guarantee their safety.

Mr Ayode Longe, Programme Manager, MRA made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

He also called on the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to make continued training and safety of journalists its priority.

Longe noted that journalists in the advanced countries were able to undertake dangerous investigations as well as coverage of war because they had insurance and had been equipped with the appropriate training.

“The journalist needs to be trained; they need to get insurance cover.

“They need to be given the right gadgets and it is a responsibility for media houses and the NUJ because these are people working for you,” he said.

Longe also advised journalists to carry out research and take advantage of several training opportunities available online, to increase their knowledge on the job and safety.“Google can do that, you may not find perfect answers but some of those answers can help you take the necessary safety steps,” he said.

He also called on the security agencies to adopt proactive measures against the kidnap of journalists and other Nigerians.

The programme manager further advised the security agencies to use some people as trap to catch the kidnappers.

“There are areas where kidnapping is rampant, let our security agencies plant chips on some people and use them as baits in those areas, to catch kidnappers,” he said.

Speaking on the welfare of journalists, Longe berated media owners for owing their workers salaries running into several months.

He said that the MRA could get the courts to close down erring media houses, to pay the workers with the support of the workers affected and the NUJ.

“If a media house owes, then there is need to go to court and declare it bankrupt and close it down.

“This is because if you are owing salaries, you should pay, and if you cannot pay, it means you are bankrupt and it should be closed down.

“Journalists don’t want that, so, MRA cannot be toeing that line but we also believe that being members of NUJ, the NUJ ought to fight for them.

He, however, said that MRA was ‘handicapped’ because some journalists from the media houses owing salaries usually sabotaged efforts to fight for their welfare.

Longe, therefore, urged journalists to take their destiny in their hands and stand for what they wanted.



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