By Mustapha Usman, Kano
Media practitioners have appealed to the National Assembly to hasten the passage of Journalism Enhancement Bill, JEB.
The bill proposes the minimum entry point for editorial staff, conditions of service to commensurate with what obtains at the Federal Civil Service and the payment of hazard allowance to journalists, among others.
This is contained in a communique issued at the end of a two-day seminar on Media and Society, organised by TEECEE Media Services in Kano on January 17.
The communique, signed by Maje Sunusi and Abdulkadir Ibrahim stated that media should be fully utilised by the government in societal re-orientation, patriotism, discipline, good neighbourliness, peaceful coexistence and adherence to the rule of law.
It also stated that governments at all levels and the private sector who own media houses should continue to fund their services, provide adequate working materials and remunerate the workers adequately.
”The Nigeria Union of Journalists, the Nigerian Guild of Editors and the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria should ensure the implementation of the eligibility criteria for entry into and practice of journalism in Nigeria, as contained in the Nigerian Press Council Decree No 85 of 1992,” the communique reads in part.
“All professional and trade unions of media workers and owners notably the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) and the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) should partner the Nigerian Press Council and make it mandatory for all potential journalists to register with the relevant professional and regulatory bodies after fulfilling a basic requirement and be accredited to practice. They must also sign to uphold the code of conduct and ethics for Nigerian Journalists.”
The practitioners also called on journalists and other workers in the media industry to always perform their duties in accordance with the ethics of the profession.
They also cautioned the practising journalists to be conscious of the laws of libel and slander, accurate and fair in reporting events.
They also advised them to constantly update their knowledge through training and re-training, seminars and refresher courses, while employers should ensure regular professional and technical training of their staff to meet the challenges of insufficient and unprofessional manpower.