Journalists Decry Marginalization In Service

Journalists have decried the marginalization of media practitioners in the country.

This was the conclusion of speakers and media practitioners during the occasion celebration of the 2019 World Press freedom day held at the Ernest Ikoli Centre, of the Nigerian union of journalist (NUJ) in Port Harcourt.

Former Vice President of NUJ, Mr. Vincent Ake who was the chairman of the occasion said the yearly event was instituted to acknowledge the enormous role of the journalism profession in information dissemination and social stability.

Ake who is the General Manager of the Rivers State Newspapers Corporation, publishers of The Tide Group of Newspapers, regretted the conditions under which journalists operate in the country, stressing that journalism as a profession has become the weeping child of other professions.

Earlier in a welcome address, chairman of Rivers State chapter of the NUJ, Mr. Stanley Job Stanley, said the occasion is in line with the United Nations declaration on the freedom of information and its importance to the advancement of the society.

While reviewing the critical roles of journalists in socio-political and economic development, the NUJ chairman emphasized the fundamental role media practitioners played in the just concluded elections in the country.

Job expressed dissatisfaction at the maltreatment and harassment of journalists during the exercise.

He regretted that most journalists who covered the elections were subjected to unwarranted public intimidation, assault and others forms of harm and damage to their personnel effects by overzealous security agents.

The chairman stated that in the elections of 2019, journalists covering the conduct of elections were barred from accessing polling and collation centres; thereby depriving the public of the needed information’s on the elections.

“Many journalists at various times have been detained and tortured by the authorities over the content of their stories and reports and in some case forced to disclose the source of their reports”.

The chairman insisted that this should never be accepted as it goes against the ethics of the profession.

He charged practitioners to resist such obnoxious acts of repression from any quarter, and described such actions as quiet inimical to the tenets of democratic practice worldwide.

The World Press Freedom Day with the theme: ‘Media, Democracy and Election in Times of Disinformation’ also featured series of lectures. The lecture on the topic, “The challenges of reporting politics in times of disinformation’, was delivered by Dr. Chris Ochonogor of the Linguistics and Communication department, University of Port Harcourt.

The second lecture which dealt on’ “objectives in reporting in the era of media commercialization”, was delivered by Dr. Faustinus Nwachukwu also of the linguistics and communication department, of the same University.

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