With a view to enabling journalists carry out their duties in safety and relative comfort, even as Coronavirus ravages the country, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), has called on the Federal and respective state governments to urgently provide safety kits and palliative to journalists in the country.
A statement jointly signed by Comrade Chris Isiguzo, National President, and Shuaibu Usman Leman, National Secretary of the Union, said It is of great importance that government come up with ways of cushioning the effect of the pandemic on Media houses in order to ensure they sustain the tempo of their coverage of the Coronavirus.
The duo lamented that, as numbers of cases increases in the country, journalists have become even more vulnerable because of the nature of their job.
“At the moment, journalists have become even more vulnerable because they are at the forefront of daily reportage of developments from this pandemic.
“Various states of the country are already on lockdown and the citizens confined to their homes but one thing remains constant; journalists are out there ensuring that the people are well informed of developments surrounding the rampaging Coronavirus”, the said.
While urging journalists to avoid sensationalism and scare mongering, racial profiling even as they go about reporting the pandemic, leadership of the Union reminded journalists on assignment in this period to bear in mind that responsible and ethical journalism is vital to the reporting of the pandemic.
“We must avoid sensationalism and scare mongering, avoid racial profiling, ensure the protection of affected persons to avoid stigmatization; maintain accuracy and report facts; seek expert opinion where necessary and provide context and point people to authoritative and credible information sources and resources in view of the prevalence of fake news, among others.
“Most importantly, we must ensure that we stay safe bearing in mind that the pandemic is already taking its toll on all of us”, the added.