The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Federal Capital Territory Council Chairman, Comrade Emmanuel Ogbeche has felicitated with Nigerian journalists on the occassion of this year’s World Press Freedom Day.
The Council Chairman, in a statement released on Sunday, May 3rd marking the day, said that the year’s celebration comes at a very challenging time when the whole world is plagued by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Here in Abuja as in other parts of the country and world, there is palpable fear, uncertainty and overwhelming dependence on the media for information and awareness on news and developments on the coronavirus pandemic”.
In line with the theme for 2020, Journalism Without Fear or Favour, Ogbeche said that there is a burden on journalists and media workers in general to be at the frontlines of reporting on the pandemic. This according to him, puts them and their loved ones at risk.
The Council Chairman commended Journalists in the FCT for carrying out their duties despite the many challenges they face.
“We are pleased that as colleagues, you have demonstrated the highest standard of ethics even in the face of obvious lack in terms of the provision of personal protective equipment.”.
Ogbeche however, admonished Journalists to prioritise personal safety while also ensuring that they follow ethics of the profession by engaging in factual, accurate reporting and avoiding the disemmination of fake news.
“You owe the profession, society and yourself the duty to report objectively, transparently, accurately without fear or favour.
You can ill-afford, as noted by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his statement, be partisans with those who have “given rise to a second pandemic of misinformation, from harmful health advice to wild conspiracy theories.”
Being the journalist that you are, you are “the antidote” to fake Covid-19 news through “verified, scientific, fact-based news and analysis.”
The FCT Council Chairman used the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day to also commend health workers and volunteers in the frontlines in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic; urging them not to tire in the face of this grave threat to humanity.