The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), on Tuesday, described as criminal and callous, a situation whereby certain media houses continually owe their workers across the country, several months of unpaid salaries.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this is just as the union canvassed an enhanced enabling environment and improved welfare packages for its members nationwide.
Rotimi Ojomoyela, chairman of NUJ in Ekiti, made this known in Ado-Ekiti while featuring on a media platform coordinated by Fresh FM, a popular Radio programme, owned by ace musician, Yinka Ayefele. He said that many journalists in both radio and newspapers are currently being owed between five months and one year salary or more.
According to him, owing journalists unpaid salaries without any immediate plans to pay up ordinarily exposes members to a series of temptations.
“It is only in Nigeria that you find journalists not being paid what is due to them, as and when necessary.
“Unfortunately, when things like this are done, the danger is that such journalists now become vulnerable to temptations, because they, like others, also have children, parents and other loved ones to care about.
On the issue of fake news, he said the national secretariat of the union is looking into the issue, in partnership with the 36 States Council to arrest the situation by dealing decisively with unqualified persons who gate-crash into the system.
He, however, pleaded with politicians to avoid rushing to the media to dish out misleading information about their opponents, saying no journalist would also rush into publishing such damaging information without first verifying its genuineness.
In the same vein, he enjoined members of the public to always demand genuine staff identity cards of anyone or group of people who professed to be media practitioners, whenever they come about to extract information from them.
He assured that the NUJ is trying all within its powers to ensure proper regulation of activities of registered members, so that only those certified to practise, are found on the streets.
He also condemned as senseless, the wicked killing of journalists, in certain parts of the world, many times, on the basis of investigations and reports they put across to the public to read about.
NAN reports that Mr Ojomoyela, who doubles as the Ekiti Correspondent of Vanguard Newspapers, said journalists facing one crisis situation or the other, should not hesitate to call the State Secretariat for prompt intervention.
He promised the Nigerian public that in spite of threats to his members, journalists in the state, and in Nigeria, would continue to disseminate only verified news reports to them.
As the nation prepares for the 2023 general election, the NUJ boss asked members to be vigilant and extra conscious of their security and safety, by avoiding isolated places and mindful of those they confide their movement schedule with.
He assured that practitioners in the state would publish only news that can further unite the country rather than those that can divide it, but clarified that both sides of the divide would always be accommodated.
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