THE Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, has written President Muhammadu Buhari requesting for a financial bailout for media houses in Nigeria.
The NUJ, in a letter dated May 13, 2020, and entitled: “Convulsions in the Media Industry” appealed for urgent intervention in the media industry.
The letter signed by Chris Isiguzo, national president of NUJ, was also copied to president of the Senate, National Assembly; speaker of the House of Representatives; secretary to the government of the federation and minister of information and culture, ministry of Information, Abuja.
The letter, which is in possession of Realnews, said: “We write to extend the highest esteem of the Nigeria Union of Journalists and the warmest consideration of its National Executive Council.
“We are constrained once again to write this letter to Mr President, appealing for urgent intervention to save the media industry from collapse.
“Sir, permit us to state that, the social duties of Journalists in Nigeria include the advancement of the right to freedom of expression, access to information, freedom of the press, media independence, conflict transformation and peace building. These are prerequisites for open governance and development, the fight against corruption among others, which ultimately serve the public interest.”
The letter noted: “there can be no freedom of expression and freedom of the press where Journalists work under precarious situations and are exposed to poverty and fear. Media organisations are daily being asphyxiated as a result of the economic downturn occasioned by the Covid 19 Pandemic.”
The NUJ said that “Today, the role of the media in National Development has become more elaborate and clearer, more than ever before, despite the little funds available to them because of shrinking advertisements, and high cost of operations, media houses can no longer comfortably pay these costs and offset staff salaries and emoluments. It is instructive to note that without the media, the Covid 19 Crisis could have gone completely out of control by now.
According to the letter, “It is pertinent to draw your attention to these ugly developments and request for the urgent intervention of the Federal Government to arrest this dangerous trend. Specifically, we appeal for financial bailout for the media industry through the Nigerian Press Organisation (NPO) and the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria for privately owned media organisations in the country.
“Sir, this is a crisis situation of monumental proportion and we plead for your urgent intervention to avert a catrostophe.”
– May 16, 2020 @ 11:55 GMT /