NUJ seeks end to harassment of journalists
CDD decries attack on observers, INEC staff, others
Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has called for an end to intimidation and harassment of journalists by agents of the state while carrying out their legitimate duties.
President of NUJ, Chris Isiguzo, while briefing his colleagues on the coming 2019 Press Freedom Awards, described press freedom as one of the key drivers of democracy globally, as it helps to ensure transparency, accountability, rule of law and citizens’ participation.
Observing that many journalists face harassment and intimidation in the line of duty, he added that the level of attack on the pen soldiers during the 2019 general elections were minimal due to interface between the union and security agencies. His words: “We say that practising journalism is not a crime. We also say that the welfare of journalists is important and want an enhanced salary package for media workers.”
Isiguzo noted that the Press Freedom Award would be an opportunity to recognise the courage and sacrifice of these journalists, and honour media owners, corporations, political and public office holders who have actively supported press freedom in the country.
He said that the event would be a gathering of Nigeria’s media icons, policy makers, technocrats, captains of industry, diplomatic corps, civil society and multilateral agencies.Nomination for the different categories of the awards opened on March 25 and ends on April 2, 2019 by e-mail with supporting documents to: pressfreedomawards.nuj.org.
Chairman of NUJ, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) council, Emma Ogbeche, while stressing that press freedom is not just a social contract but also a constitutional demand, said “it is critical for democracy to thrive.”Similarly, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has decried attack, harassment and intimidation of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ad-hoc officials, observers, voters and journalists during the re-run elections in five states.
The unfortunate incident took an unprecedented turn in Kano, Plateau, Sokoto, Benue and Bauchi states where party agents and thugs prevented them from exercising their franchise or monitoring.
In a statement signed by its director, Idayat Hassan, CDD commended voter turn-out in Kano, Plateau and Sokoto during the supplementary elections.According to the statement, despite its routine occurrence, no culprit has been punished.“In Kano State, violence and disruption of polling were widespread, as an army of thugs reportedly took over polling activities in several councils, including Nasarawa, Dala, Karaye and Gaya.”
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