LightRay Media Partners NUJ, Trains Journalists on Ethical Standards

By Joy Omagha Idam, Abuja

NIgerian journalists on Wednesday, August 30th, 2023 were tasked to set a minimum standard and scrutinize the terms of engagement of their work before accepting such a job in order not to compromise the ethics of the journalism profession.

They were saddled with the task at a one-day training on ‘Safety and Protection of Journalists and Workplace Compliance’ organized by LightRay Media and Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) FCT Correspondents Chapel.

The resource person, Ms Ejiro Umukoro speaking during the event called on the media practitioners to prioritize self development through national and international trainings. It is part of LightRay Media’s advocacy agenda to equip journalists across Nigeria.

Umukoro cautioned journalists against taking bribes and gratification from government officials in the course of carrying out their duty, noting that such practice is demeaning and reduces them before the public.

She stressed the need for journalists to have a minimum standard of values for themselves that would further position them for bigger and better opportunities.

She advised journalists to always investigate and verify every news item thoroughly before going to press and maintain international best practices. She added that the era of doing what everyone else is doing is over just as she urged them to carve a niche for themselves and stand out of the crowd.

Umukoro charged journalists to always hold their employers accountable and not to hesitate to seek legal redress when the ‘rules of engagement’ are violated. She said this would accord them more respect in discharging their statutory role within and outside their organizations.

On his own part the Chairman NUJ FCT Correspondents Chapel, Mr. Jide Oyekunle, commended the LightRay Media for putting the programme together noting that the training would enrich the knowledge and skills of their members.

According to Oyekunle, “One of the key pillars of democracy is free and vibrant press as a watchdog and mirror of the society but the media space in the country is becoming more toxic, shrinking and hostile thereby making it difficult for journalists to operate and carry out their statutory roles.

“The prevailing environment is unsafe, suffocating and dangerous not just for journalists and other media workers but for the sustenance of democracy itself.

“The role of the press is for social change and development of any democratic society and the safety of journalists is not negotiable.

He said “Journalists and others working in the media sphere have faced unprecedented challenges in recent years as they were increasingly oppressed, arrested, silenced, threatened. From physical attacks, online attacks and bullying by security agents in the guise of using Cybercrime Act 2015 to undermine, frustrate and suppress press freedom”.

The Chairman decried the fact that Nigeria has continued to fare badly in the Press Freedom Index with Nigeria ranked second worst in West Africa in the Press Freedom Violation therefore putting us in second place behind Ghana in the regional quarterly report on Freedom of Expression (FOE) jointly put together by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) and Nigeria Union of Journalists between January–March 2022.

He said that “we will continue to create awareness and educate more Nigerians on the need to know their rights and uphold the fundamental objectives of the directive principles of the state policy of the 1999 Constitution as amended”. We have continued to emphasize that journalism is not a crime, journalism is not an opposition, journalism is the oxygen of democracy.

Also speaking at the event the Secretary of Council, Comrade Ochiaka Ùgwù commended Lightray for creating time to train journalists adding that the issues raised were timely as they affect the training of journalists. He thanked the Correspondents Chapel for always coming up with programs that affect journalists positively.

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