By Chimezie Godfrey
The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), has appealed to President Buhari to grant financial bailout to media organizations in the country to save them from imminent collapse.
The NUJ National President, Chris Isiguzo made the appeal on Saturday, via a letter addressed to the President and copied to the President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, and Minister of Information and Culture.
According to Isiguzo, the media industry in the country is currently suffering from financial convulsion and at the risk of imminent collapse and could only be saved by the urgent intervention of the executive and legislative arms of the government.
“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.
“Your Excellency, 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 letter read.
The NUJ President pointed out that the role of the media is critical to national development and deserve the attention of government at all levels.
“Today 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.
“Your Excellency, 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 catastrophe.
“While thanking Mr President in anticipation, you will once more accept the assurance of our cooperation at all times, please.”