The Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja has cautioned journalists rendering essential services during the lockdown to observe all safety and precautionary measures needed to avoid spreading the pandemic.
In a release signed by the Secretary of the NUJ FCT Council’s Media Sensitisation and Monitoring Committee on COVID- 19, Comrade Titi Olademehin, the committee expressed concerns over the reckless manner with which reporters and cameramen exposed themselves while covering the arraignment of popular Nollywood actor, Funke Akindele for flouting of the Lagos State government’s lockdown directives.
‘Journalists, especially photojournalists who responded to the call of duty to serve the public from the field obviously violated the critical safety measure of social distancing prescribed by experts for their safety.
Whilst this happened in Lagos, we are not oblivious of the fact that Journalists in the FCT are also guilty of this fragrant display of recklessness during coverage; It calls for caution and discipline.
More worrisome, Olademehin said, was the fact that a large number of journalists were without face masks.
‘We fear that such compromised approach to duty does not only endanger the journalist alone but also puts other colleagues, their families and other news sources at risk where they are exposed.’
The committee which was recently inaugurated has started a campaign under the hashtag #nujfctcovid19intervention calling for strict adherence to the guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) while in public places.
“Journalists must understand that they are not superhumans but privileged members of society mandated by the Constitution to serve the public with the right information. That mandate does not include being reckless during a pandemic such as this”, the committee Secretary said in her statement.
The NUJ FCT COVID 19 committee called on government, media owners and relevant groups to provide protective gears, security and access to information to media practitioners working during the lockdown
“While we call on our colleagues to be safe we also call for adequate supply of safety gears for our journalists both by their respective employers and other well meaning organisations as the safety of one is the safety of all and the compromise of one person puts all others at risk”.
“The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is critical to our operations in the field as social distancing while in open and enclosed areas”, the statement read.