National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chris Isiguzo, has urged the media to assist society in addressing fake news and hate speech that is impacting the industry, negatively.
He also charged practitioners to check the falsehoods and distortions around the COVID-19 vaccines through media literacy of the less-exposed citizens.
Isiguzo, who made the appeal, yesterday, in his New Year message, stressed that it is desirous that journalists work more towards educating people and explaining the status of fake news and hate speech to discourage citizens from growing more politically cynical.
He said: “Addressing such cynicisms ahead of the 2023 national elections in the country will improve democratic participation of the citizenry. We wish journalists in Nigeria a happy 2022 and hope that the year will bring forth good tidings for media professionals and the industry.”
The NUJ boss recalled the difficult time’s media went through the previous year, with unpalatable consequences, some of which included the COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged the global economy and put so much pressure on the industry.
“We have witnessed copious volumes of falsehoods and distortions about COVID 19 vaccines, which have cost so many lives all over the world, and unfortunately, these have found their way into traditional media outlets that should ideally be sources of credible news.
He, therefore, called for better cooperation by all tiers of government to the media, especially, as it relates to providing the necessary assistance to ameliorate the difficulties that the media industry had gone through in the past couple of years.
Isiguzo continued: “It is instructive, therefore, to note that the survival of Nigeria as a political entity will depend to a large extent on getting it right in 2023 national elections. Certainly, it will be foolhardy to ignore the precarious situation of the media industry presently.
“Another area of concern is the issue of welfare of media professionals. We believe and insist that enhancing the emoluments and other entitlements of persons, who work in the media, will have a positive impact on our democracy.”
It will be reckless to assume, that not doing so is not important, and can be wished away in the usual clumsy manner.”
Reiterating commitment towards improving the fortunes of the industry and professionals in the New Year, he appealed to the states and Federal Government to work closely with the union in ensuring the safety of journalists as the 2023 polls approach.