HURIWA tasks presideni’s aides on media freedom, others
A civil society organization, Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) has challenged the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Femi Adesina and the Senior Special Assistant on Media, Garba Shehu, to use their nearness to the seat of power to promote media freedom and professional excellence amongst journalists.
Also, the group, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, urged former national president of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mohammed Garba, who has been appointed in Kano State as the Information Commissioner, to bring his vast experiences as a professional and manager of journalists to bear in broadening the scope of media freedoms in the state.
HURIWA said “media freedom in that core conservative Northern State has suffered monumental attacks from some reactionary forces bent on foisting their brand of religious ideology to the exclusion of others.”
The group also lamented the poor salaries paid to media practitioners in the country and urged journalists who have attained top flight political positions to lobby for a good working environment for active journalists to be created by effective legislation and enforcement of media practitioners’ friendly laws.
HURIWA stated its resolve to publish a list of mainstream media houses owing their staff, except these defaulting employers have a change of heart and pay living wages to journalists soon.
Citing section 22 of the nation’s constitution, HURIWA lamented the poor working conditions under which media practitioners perform their daily duties. The group said Adesina and Shehu who now advise President Muhammadu Buhari on media must use their high net value to ensure that media owners pay living wages to their staff.
It challenged all professional groups protecting the interest of journalists to improve the economic capacity of media workers who toil day and night to educate, inform and entertain the citizenry on their civic duties and responsibilities.
“Mr. Femi Adesina, Garba Shehu, Mohammed Garba and those former journalists now serving as national lawmakers must give back to their primary constituency which is the Nigerian media by synergizing with relevant governmental and non-governmental agencies to ensure that effective laws are enforced to protect the employment rights of Journalists and introduce functional life insurance policy for media workers”.
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