NUJ caution members against unprofessional conduct
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has cautioned its members against being used for unprofessional acts by politicians.
It also warned them against making their platforms available for individuals to settle personal scores.
In a statement, yesterday, by its
National President, Secretary and Treasurer, Comrades Chris Isiguzo, Shu’aibu Leman and Bamidele Atunbi, NUJ said it had been inundated with complaints from a couple of federal ministries and heads of parastatals regarding some groups masquerading as civil societies in cohort with other so-called ‘journalists’ are to tarnish their integrity.
The statement reads: “It has become urgent and imperative to draw the attention of our members to the fact that in our ethical demand for good governance, transparency and accountability from all segments of society, we should not yield our various platforms and civic space to individuals or groups out there to settle personal scores or advance personal interests in the guise of fighting corruption and promoting good governance.
“Over the past few weeks, the union has been inundated with complaints from government officials and entities – the Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Power, Ministry of Finance – and heads of parastatals that some groups masquerading as civil society in cohort with some ‘journalists’ are out to tarnish their good name and reputation, alleging corrupt acts.
“While we applaud the commitment of credible groups to expose corruption and demand accountability, we are not unmindful of the antics of a few for personal gains and to settle scores.
“As a union committed to press freedom and protection of journalists, we urge our colleagues to be guided by the Code of Ethics of the NUJ, and be wary of individuals and entities who, for political expediency and turf protection, are engaged in extra-legal means and ways by allegedly doctoring statements of accounts and photographing buildings, commercial and residential, of some public officials as being corrupt either for personal gains or vendetta.
“If any group feels strongly and are certain of their facts, they should petition the various anti-graft agencies, and even approach the courts for an Order of Mandumus to compel the government to act.
“The union wishes to remind our colleagues of the legal consequences for acts that bother on criminal defamation and libel, and the willingness of these individuals and groups to use journalists as expendables in the event of legal challenge.
“It behoves the union to remind each and everyone of us that liability for libelous publications is not limited to the original author or publisher thereof, but it also extends to and includes all those who, out of sheer ignorance, mischief or malice, or all, cause any libelous publication to be repeated, reposted or re-published, either personally or through any platform for which they have control.
“It is in this regard that the union will not expend energy and scarce resources on matters that ordinarily should have been guarded against.
“However, the union will not shirk away from any case(s) of witch-hunt or harassment and intimidation of any of its members doing their legitimate jobs.”