NUJ seeks N’Assembly’s support to regulate journalism practice

NUJ President, Waheed Oduilse. (Middle)

NUJ President, Waheed Oduilse. (Middle)

THE Nigeria Union Journalists (NUJ) has called for the support of the National Assembly in regulating media practice in the country.

The request was made yesterday when the leadership of the body paid a courtesy visit on the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
Speaking on behalf of the union, the National President, Waheed Odusile, expressed dissatisfaction with the activities of quacks in the profession, stressing that it takes an enabling law to sanitise the profession.

Odusile said that it was lack of enabling law to regulate the profession that has created loopholes for non-professionals to penetrate the industry without appropriate punishment.
“We are here to seek collaboration of NASS to ensure that journalism is accorded the rightful place and journalists given their due. We are the only profession that the Constitution gives the power to monitor governance and to hold government accountable to the people.

We have been trying our best to do that but we have constraints and these are some of the things we said we should bring before the leadership of the National Assembly to assist us in moving journalism forward in this country.
“We are not entirely satisfied with the way journalism is being practised in the country today not necessarily due to the fault of the practitioners but that the enabling environment is not making it conducive for us to operate the way we should and the way our colleagues elsewhere work.
“It may interest you to know that as we speak, there is no law or legislation that recognises journalism as a profession in this country. That makes it an open-ended thing for anybody that can write or speak English whether good or bad to consider himself to be a journalist and practice”, he stated.

Odusile also told Saraki that the Union was in the process of putting together a Bill seeking to strenghten journalism. This, he noted, would be presented to the Senate before the first quarter of next year.

All things being equal, we are partnering with some of our colleagues in NASS to help us push the Bill and we are appealing that as soon as it gets to the Senate in particular, the distinguished senators will give it expeditious hearing because we are really desirous of ridding journalism of quacks.
“We are working on a media salary and think we need a law to also help us in that direction. What we are asked to do by the constitution, we are not properly empowered in terms of remuneration. We work round the clock but we are not adequately remunerated.
“We are working on something that will give our own members their own special salary structure like other professionals”, he added.

In his reaction, the Senate President assured the delegation that the bill would be given accelerated hearing, stressing that the media is crucial to the development of any nation.
He also assured of transparency, saying there was no any attempt to gag the media.
“This Senate will not be part of any system to gag the media. Self-regulation is what we require”, he said.

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