World Press Day: NUJ, Ozigbo Sue For Improved Working Conditions For Journalists

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By Okechukwu Onuegbu In the spirit of World Press Freedom Day, the Anambra State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and a philanthropist, Valentine Ozigbo have sued for improved welfare packages and working conditions for journalists. NUJ in a statement issued by her Anambra state Council Chairman and the Secretary, Comrade Emmanuel Ifesinachi and Emma Udeagha, enjoined the three arms of government to take urgent measures to strengthen the safety of journalists and improve their working conditions. According to the Council, this was a precondition for attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), while addressing the threat of extinction faced by state owned media organs and local news stations across the nation due to a huge drop in revenues following the COVID-19 pandemic. On his part, Ozigbo, a business mogul and aspirant for 2021 Anambra State gubernatorial poll under PDP, called for a total press freedom in the country because the media was "the defenders of our democracy". "Today, I celebrate the Nigerian press for their resilience and commitment to the professional and the development of Nigeria. Our journalists operate under some of the harshest work conditions in the world, yet they continue to play their role in building Nigeria and growing our democracy. "Any nation that wishes to progress must guarantee the free flow of information. It is essential that the threats and clampdown on journalists should immediately be stopped. Rather than censorship, governments should enter into partnerships with the media by investing in strengthening and equipping the press to carry out its responsibilities," he added. He further urged the federal government to respect the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, stressing that if he wins the 2021 poll he would domesticate the FOIA by sponsoring a Freedom of Information bill at the State House of Assembly.

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