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Word Press Freedom Day:  Group urges journalists to adhere to journalism ethics

. As Don urges better remuneration

The Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF), has called on journalists to adhere strictly to the code of journalism ethics each time they write their stories.

This comes even as a university lecturer has said that real press freedom will be elusive until media practitioners are adequately remunerated.

The Executive Director, AMDF, Iliya Kure, made this known yesterday in a statement to mark the 2022 World Press Freedom Day (WPFD), in Kaduna.

Kure said: “The foundation salutes journalists in Africa, and around the world, who remain in the frontline to practice journalism, in spite of attacks, threats, imprisonment, losses and blackmail.

“As we mark the 2022 World Press Freedom Day, we remember each of the 55 journalists killed worldwide in the last one year (UNESCO figures), who died in line of duty, or because of their journalistic practice.

“Overtime, press freedom in Africa has remained an issue of concern, with high incidences of violations and attacks on the press by security agents, on the orders of people in authority, and sometimes by aggrieved members of the public, who take the law into their hands.

“We, therefore, call on governments and security agencies in Africa to respect the freedom of the press at all times.

Overtime, press freedom in Africa has remained an issue of concern, with high incidences of violations and attacks on the press by security agents, on the orders of people in authority, and sometimes by aggrieved members of the public, who take the law into their hands.

According to Kure, the World Press Freedom Day, observed every May 3, is set aside by the United Nations to serve as a reminder to governments, of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics.

He said: “Like every press freedom stakeholder, AMDF is concerned with increasing cases of harassment, arrests, imprisonment, torture and digital attacks on journalists for no other reason, other than doing their work.

“AMDF aligns with the 2022 theme, ‘Journalism Under Digital Siege’, which is a reflection of the many challenges confronting journalists in the discharge of their duties.”

He said it was particularly important because the trend of online attacks on media is significantly increasing with women journalists worst hit.

“A recent statistic by UNESCO shows a shocking prevalence of harassment online, where nearly three-quarters of female media professionals have experienced online violence linked to their work,” he said.

He explained that AMDF would, on Thursday May 12, hold a virtual panel discussion via zoom, drawing journalists from different countries of Africa to have discussion on issues about press freedom, and would continue to speak against impunity and injustice against journalists.

He called on all stakeholders to join the foundation in the fight for Press Freedom until the press in Africa is free from attacks and violence.

Better pay

A lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, University of Calabar, Patrick Okon, has said that real press freedom will be elusive until the media are adequately remunerated.

Okon said yesterday this in an interview to commemorate the World Press Freedom Day in Calabar, Cross River State.

The day is observed annually on May 3, to raise awareness of the importance of press freedom. It also reminds governments of their duty to respect the right to freedom of expression enshrined in Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The FOIA which I incidentally took part in midwifing as a federal legislator has not provided enough access to public services information; journalists are still denied access to information in government agencies run like cults.

The don noted that journalists were still poorly paid, subjected to abuses and not regarded as professionals in the society, adding that journalists were freer now than in the military regimes.

The former House of Representatives member however said the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has not provided enough access to public information as some government businesses were still operated like cults.

“The FOIA which I incidentally took part in midwifing as a federal legislator has not provided enough access to public services information; journalists are still denied access to information in government agencies run like cults.

“On the digital era, I think it has enhanced immediacy in reporting and improved production but it has also opened the door to a lot of misinformation in the guise of citizen journalism.

“There is an urgent need to moderate the activities of the digital platforms being used to dish out these misinformation and disinformation,” he said.

Okon, however, called on the practitioners to learn to assert themselves as professionals, adding that some journalists practised infantile journalism in search of basic comfort.

“As a result, many of them have become subservient to those they look up to for financial gain; this has affected their news gathering, reporting and management.

“Many of them have failed to continually develop themselves by taking up available training and retraining opportunities,” the don said.

He added that the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) had also not done much in exercising its responsibility of safeguarding its members.

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