Media professional bodies and stakeholders have been tasked to ensure that the laws providing for the protection of journalists in the country be fully implemented at all levels.
This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a two-day workshop which held in Kano, to equip journalists on prerequisite skills and knowledge on safety and mental wellbeing especially in the build-up to the 2023 general elections.
The workshop which focused on Safety/Security Consciousness and Mechanisms in Investigative Reporting and Coverage of Conflicts/Dangerous Assignments had in attendance 25 journalists from online, print, and broadcast media.
The communiqué reads in part that, “Journalists and other media professionals practicing and publishing online must openly declare commitment to the upholding of the ethical and professional standards of journalism as spelt out in codes of ethics/conduct while also taking necessary protection and safety measures.
“Journalists’ well-being and mental health should be given priority by all media professional bodies and stakeholders.
“There should be sustained engagement with security agencies to push concerns relating to abuses against journalists and demand for stiff penalties for violation of the “rights’’ of any journalist.
“Media support groups like the International Press Centre should continue to prioritise capacity building on digital safety /security and safety consciousness for journalists and other media professionals.”
Media establishments were also tasked to prioritise skill acquisition and capacity development as part of the welfare package for journalists.
Regarding the mental health of journalists, participants at the workshop recommended that “there should be greater collaboration between media professionals bodies and Departments of Mental Health Services of tertiary institutions in every state of the federation to mobilise for sustained interest in advocacies on improved welfare and mental health of journalists.
“Media organisations (government and privately owned) should provide continuous mental health education and self-protection training for their staff.”
The need for conscious efforts to sustain the push for the Journalism Enhancement Bill (JEB) was also highlighted
The workshop was supported by Shehu Musa Yar’adua Foundation, Ford Foundation, Luminate, and OSIWA through the funding of the project on ‘Contextualizing and Publicizing Real Costs & Mobilising Against Increasing Violation of Media Freedom, Journalists Rights and Freedom of Expression’.