The Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, has urged its members to adhere to standards and ethics of the profession despite threats of legal actions by politicians.
Victor Udu, the Chairman of NUJ Cross River Council, made the call in Calabar, the capital city of the southern Nigeria state, while reacting to a statement by the Governors spokesperson and Chief Press Secretary, Christian Ita.
Ita had attacked journalists, mostly members of Correspondents chapel claiming that they were blackmailing the governor for establishing new farms and expanding existing ones in order to feed the agro-industries built by Governor Ben Ayade-led administration.
Ita further tagged journalists traducers, with a wicked, mindless and unconscionable mind-set against his Principal, saying journalists were out to frustrate the agricultural policy of the governor.
Udu, however, stated, “we have a standard and we must keep to that standard; truthful and fair journalism. Our duty at any point in time is to act as a check and balance to government. Politicians will not like it, but as long as we are doing the right thing, in accordance with the mandate we have, I am satisfied.
Also reacting, Judex Okoro, the Chairman of the Correspondents chapel, in Cross River, regretted that the government, which has benefited from the magnanimity of journalists in the past, was the one referring to members of the NUJ as blackmailers.
Okoro, who is a Correspondent for the Sun Newspapers, said in a statement, “we worked tirelessly for the present administration and only to be castigated, upbraided and threatened with legal action for doing our work. We cannot be cowed into doing government bidding all the time or publishing propaganda and sensational Press Releases from the office of CPS and the media team.
We are totally committed to responsible journalism that tells the truth in a more accurate, objective, balanced and dignified manner.
Journalists in Cross River have been very responsible and are accountable to their report. We are committed more than ever before to ensure that government delivers on its electoral promises and good governance for the betterment of the society, Okoro stressed.
Similarly, a former state chairman of the Inter-Party Committee, IPAC, Mr. Goddy Akpama criticized the media aid for his attacks on journalists, who reported on the order of the Cross River House of Assembly to stop Governor Ben Ayade from acquiring 9,000 hectares of land across the state.
Akpama described the press release by Ita as unfortunate, AND commended journalists for holding the governor accountable to the public, explaining that without the efforts of Journalists, the state would have been run aground.