BY SEGUN ADEBAYO, ABUJA – The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has said that clamping down on the media by the government is a sign of a weak democracy and a restive government.
The NUJ noted that it is instructive to note that a free and open press is part of the bedrock of democracy and development which should be encouraged and sustained.
The Union specifically said that the reckless decision by the Federal Government through the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to impose a fine on Media broadcast stations for perceived hate speeches negates the United Nations General Assembly resolution on the safety of journalists which proclaimed November 02 of each year as the international day to end impunity for crimes against journalists.
These were contained in a statement signed by the National President of the NUJ, Mr Chris Isiguzo in which the Union noted with regret the fine of N5 million imposed by the National Broadcasting Organisation (NBC) on Nigeria Info Radio for an alleged hate speech.
It therefore called on the Federal Government to end the impunity for all crimes against journalists and the Media, stressing that the fine is outrageous and an act of impunity against the media.
According to Isiguzo; “It is disheartening to note that, for several years now, Nigeria has continued to record some of the highest levels of violence targeting journalists in the media.
“These statistics are unacceptable to the Nigeria Union of Journalists. We continue to advocate for measures on safety and security of Journalists and press freedom.
“Promoting the safety of journalists and media organisations and protecting media equipment will enhance transparent societies and keep citizens around the country well informed,” the NUJ sad.
It also said that while it is committed to the campaigns against attacks and impunity on the press, it reiterated its commitment to press freedom and the pursuit of justice and protection for Journalists in the country especially in this Covid 19 times.
The NUJ therefore appealed to all stakeholders to join in the war against impunity on the press even as it call on the NBC to withdraw the offensive fine forthwith and engage stakeholders properly in finding better ways and means of dealing with hate speech and fake news.