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Journalists call for protective laws, full implementation of FOI Act

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The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) on Thursday called for the enactment of protection laws and full implementation of the Freedom of Information Act.

The NUJ, Kogi branch, made the call in a communique after a one-day workshop organized by Stallion Times Media Services in collaboration with the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism.

The workshop, facilitated through the Collaborative Media Project with support from the MacArthur Foundation, was attended by journalists from broadcast, print, and blogosphere organizations.

The workshop resolved that government officials should be compelled to adhere to provisions of the FOI Act by making available required information of public interest to journalists.

The Communique, signed by Isiyaku Ahmed and Adeiza Jimoh CEO/Editor-in-Chief, Stallion Times Media Services, and NUJ Chairman, Kogi respectively, said the welfare of journalists should be prioritized by media owners to minimize undue influence or interference.

“There should be periodic training and capacity building for practicing journalists for enhanced professionalism. The incidence of quacks should be checked by regulatory authorities like the Nigerian Press Council and other regulatory bodies.”

“Government agencies should work with the media as a watchdog and punish/sanction any public figure that perpetuates acts of misconduct exposed through investigative reports.

“This is to deter would-be perpetrators so as to encourage good conduct, especially in governance, to engender growth, accountability, decency, discipline, transparency, and probity in governance,” it stated.

It noted that for better results, journalists should apply the principles of truthfulness, “Seek truth and report it.”

The communique also enjoined journalists to always uphold accuracy and objectivity by reporting all sides to a story and to ensure fairness and impartiality to minimize the harm that could be caused by their reporting.

The communique said, “Journalists, by their conduct, should act independently by putting the public interest first.”

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