Peter Ayoade, Ibadan
The Chairman of Oyo State Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Ademola Babalola on Thursday condemned a former Minister of Aviation, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode for assaulting a Daily Trust correspondent in Calabar, Cross Rivers State, recently.
The NUJ Chairman while vehemently condemning Fani-Kayode’s verbal attack on the hapless journalist, described the ex-minister as an inconsequential man who is not meant to be taken too serious.
Comrade Babalola made this assertion while featuring on a socio-political programme – “Ojukoju”, anchored by Dr. Adebayo Faleke on Fresh 105.9FM in Ibadan, Oyo State capital.
According to Babalola, “journalism is a divine profession whose aim and objective is not to make huge profit but to sanitize the society. It is a risky profession and least loved by the political bigwigs and powerful men because it exposes them.
“Journalists are most hated by the powerful people in the society. We are like day and night as we are both managing and tolerating ourselves. They know we are the only one that can expose their wrong deeds to the people. This is the major reason for the hatred; occasional and unbridled attacks on journalists.
He stated further that journalism as a profession, lacks what is known as insurance cover. “If any thing is wrong with any one of us, we are always on our own. This is one of the reasons the profession is lagging behind.
“Even at that, we are still not relenting in our responsibilities to hold those in government accountable and responsible to the masses in line with the dictates of the section 22 of the Nigeria’s 1999 constitution as amended.
“Yet with the current state of our profession and how they treat us, we still maintain our standards as we don’t compromise with them.
While talking about the bastardized state of journalism, he said “the name of the profession has been tarnished by not the members of the institution but by individuals who engage in what is known today as citizen journalism and it is professionally referred to as ‘Arm chair journalism’ where an individual write anything from his or her comfortable zone. When people stumble on such a fake trending story, they have always been attaching such to us.”
Babalola therefore urged his fellow journalists not to be discouraged by the challenges of the profession.