A framework on Police –Media relations and safety of Journalists in Nigeria has been adopted in principle.
The motion for the adoption of the document which was jointly produced by the Nigerian Union of Journalists and the Nigeria Police Force, was moved by a Former Chairman of the Union, Amos Dunia and was seconded by the leader of the Police team to the forum, Chief Superintendent of Police, Ngozi Nwokoma.
Speaking at the Forum, the President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Chris Isiguzo, said that the meeting was organised to a chat way forward for the Police-Media relations.
Isiguzo who stressed that safety of journalists in Nigeria is crucial, pointed that it has become pertinent for the Nigerian Police to collaborate with the Nigerian media to sustain the country’s democracy.
According to the NUJ President: “To ensure that democracy survives in Nigeria, the oxygen of democracy which is the media must not be toyed with.”
“No matter how we approach governance let us not toy with safety of journalists.”
“Journalists and the Police ought to partner, journalists don’t have guns, we are not terrorist or criminals we are partners in progress.”
“We are at the point of adoption of the framework and if there is the need for legislation we will involve the National Assembly, the most important for us is the take-off, we may not have powers to implement directly but we are heading somewhere progressive,” the NUJ President added.
The Executive Director of Media Foundation for West Africa, Suleiman Braimah, said the forum was held to seek end to issues of misunderstanding between the police and the media.
According to him: “Lack of understanding has been the major challenge, most times the police don’t understand properly what the media roles are and as well the police don’t seem to know when the roles of the journalists comes in.”
“So the idea has been that we forge a collaboration between the media and the police so as to achieve enhanced cooperation and enhanced understanding, they will understand each other and develop a framework that will guide their relationship.”
He added that the Ghanian Police administration has already adopted the framework which he said contains roles and responsibilities of the police and the media.
In his Presentation of framework on Police-Media Relations and Safety of Journalists in Nigeria, Professor Kwame Karikari, stated that the relationship between the Police and media is vital, adding that the police needs the media for legitimacy which will make the public to have confidence in the services of the police.
“Therefore the two needs to keep working together in the public service, the two provide thankless jobs, the work of the two needs constant and high level of professionalism.”
“The framework is to reinforce for both institutions their importance in cooperating and working together to promote and protect democracy in Nigeria, moreover what motivates the whole process is the safety of journalists in informing the public about the society.”
The framework is to strengthen relations between the media and the police so that the media can help the police develop strong relations with civil population and assist them in fighting crime.
Journalists from Print, Broadcast and Online media participated at the forum as well as a good number of Police delegates.
The workshop was sponsored by the Media Foundation for West Africa and coordinated by the Nigerian Union of Journalist, FCT Chapter.