PRESS FREEDOM AND JOURNALISTS AS ENDANGERED SPECIES — Nigerian Pilot News
Connect with us

Editorial

PRESS FREEDOM AND JOURNALISTS AS ENDANGERED SPECIES

Published

on

The watchdog role of the press, among which are to report activities of government to citizens, expose bad governance and corruption, is not self-assigned but a creation of the law. Regrettably, this constitutional role has made journalists an endangered species in the world today.

This is because governments across the world progressively perceive the media as adversary rather than partner in progress. While authorities are striving to cover some of their corrupt activities that are inimical to growth and development, the media labour so hard to sniff out these atrocities and report same to the public thereby exposing the journalist to great risk, sometimes at the expense of his or her life.

In a profound appreciation of the noble role of the press inn the society, Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, posited that: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

In recognition of this all-important role to humanity and the world at large, the United Nations General Assembly declared May 3 as ‘World Press Freedom Day’. The day was set aside to raise awareness on the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The day is also used to mark the anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration, a statement of free press principles put together by African newspaper journalists in Windhoek in 1991.

In his massage at this year’s World Press Freedom Day, the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said: “A free press is essential for peace, justice, sustainable development and human rights. No democracy is complete without access to transparent and reliable information. It is the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions, holding leaders accountable and speaking truth to power.”

While calling on all to defend the rights of journalists, whose efforts help to build a better world, the UN scribe concluded that when media workers are targeted, societies as a whole pay a price. Unfortunately, some rogue governments across the world, rather than appreciate the priceless sacrifices of journalists, are busy clamping down on any reporter that dares to expose their corrupt dealings.

Only last years, a well-known journalist and critic of the Saudi government, Jamal Khashoggi, on 2 October, walked into the country’s consulate in Istanbul where he was murdered and dismembered.

According to UNESCO, almost 100 journalists were killed in 2018 and hundreds are imprisoned. In Nigeria, it is a double tragedy for media practitioners. They are not only confronted with repressive posture of government and corporate bodies, but are poorly remunerated. The welfare of journalists in Nigeria is hellish, with salaries and allowances not enough to cater for their basic need, including family, children education, decent shelter, utility bills, etc. Many media houses owe workers months and years of salary arrears.

It is time to rise up in defence of the journalist who risks everything just to keep the society informed and updated about our social, political, economic, etc, environment. The journalist needs adequate protection, good remuneration and insurance cover for those that cover conflicts, etc. It is high time media professional bodies rise up to their expectations on the welfare and safety of the journalist in Nigeria.

QUOTE

About 100 journalists were killed in 2018 and hundreds are imprisoned. In Nigeria, it is a double tragedy for media practitioners. They are not only confronted with repressive posture of government and corporate bodies, but are poorly remunerated. The welfare of journalists in Nigeria is hellish, with salaries and allowances not enough to cater for their basic need, including family, children education, decent shelter, utility bills, etc. Many media houses owe workers months and years of salary arrears

500 total views, 20 views today

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Loading...
Click to comment
Advertisement
Advertisement
Loading...

Most Read