As the world celebrates World Press Freedom day amidst the Covid-19 Pandemic, Journalist have been tasked to be ” the antidote of fake Covid-19 news” by sticking to ethical reporting .
The NUJ FCT Chairman , Emmanuel Ogbeche made the call in a press statement issued Sunday in Abuja.
See full text of statement.
NUJ FCT MESSAGE ON WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY, MAY 3, 2020
We bring you fraternal greetings on the occasion of the 2020 World Press Freedom Day with the theme: Journalism Without Fear or Favour.
This year’s celebration comes at a very challenging time- 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.
This places a burden on journalists and media workers in general to be at the frontlines of reporting on the pandemic, and in so doing put themselves and their loved ones at risk.
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 by government and media owners, harassment and intimidation by security personnel and poor working conditions.
On this day, we at the NUJ FCT charge you to take your personal safety as priority, while we continue to engage on how to provide support in this difficult period.
Our most fundamental charge is that as journalists and media workers, 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.”
We use this opportunity to commend all health workers and volunteers in the frontlines against the coronavirus pandemic and urge them not to tire in the face of this grave threat to humanity.
Furthermore, our expectation is that the Federal Capital Territory Administration and other local authorities will continue to engage constructively with all stakeholders especially grant access to journalists in their handling of the pandemic so that citizens and residents of the FCT will be well informed and counter the virus of fake news, disinformation, misinformation and conspiracies.
Together, we will overcome Covid-19.
Happy World Press Freedom Day 2020!
Emmanuel Ogbeche Ochiaka Ugwu
Chairman of Council Secretary of Council