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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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