By Eseoghene Emuke
A former governorship aspirant in Delta State, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, has decried the poor working condition for Nigerian media workers.
Onuesoke, who is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), stressed that media workers especially journalists deserved improved working condition than what they currently enjoy.
He, however, called on the national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and other media bodies in the country to work out modalities that will ensure life insurance for media practitioners.
He stated this on Friday during a live radio programme on Crown FM in Warri where he lamented that data has it that Nigeria is one of the difficult places to practice journalism in the world.
The PDP chieftain explained that the provision of life insurance for journalists mostly those in volatile zones in war fronts like Boko Haram and coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic, would help the journalism profession.
Onuesoke posited that media workers over the years have been abandoned by their employers as many work without salaries in spite of putting their lives in danger working for the common good of society.
He explained that journalists like in conflict situations are daily exposed to grave danger which may result in maiming or death in course of engaging in their professional calling.
While highlighting some of the risks journalists are expose to, Onuesoke stated,“There is the possibility of assassination or murder of media professionals in the course of doing their jobs.
“They are assaulted and battened. There is possibility of kidnapping or disappearance of journalists investigating or reporting on sensitive issues. There is equally the possibility of arson or bombing of media facilities for reporting on sensitive issues.
“The danger surrounding journalists while doing their work are enormous and as such they need to be protected with a life insurance policy.”
He advised that there should be urgent need to enhance the working condition of journalists in the country considering that there can be no freedom of expression or freedom of the press where journalists work under precarious conditions and are exposed to danger, poverty or fear.
Quoting Committee To Protect Journalists, Onuesoke disclosed that no fewer than 53 journalists were killed on the job in 2018, adding that 34 of whom were targeted for murder in reprisal for their work.
“The numbers, which represent those killed between January 1 and December 14, make 2018 the deadliest year for journalists in the past three years, according to CPJ data,” he stated.
He said Nigeria journalists should be respected and giving free hands to ask questions most during media briefing without intimidation or harassment of any kind.
The PDP Chieftain advised all stakeholders to insure, enhance salaries, allowances, pensions and general condition of service for media professionals.