The National Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has appealed for financial bailout from President Muhammadu Buhari, in order to save the Nigeria media industry from total collapse, as a result of the economic downturn caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter, titled “Convulsions in the Media Industry ,” dated May 13th, signed by National President of council, Chris Isugizo and addressed to Buhari, the NUJ said “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.”
According to the letter, the media industry is instrumental to saving the COVID-19 crisis in the country from getting out of control.
The letter noted that the duty of the media in national development has become lucid and elaborate in the present time, more than ever, inspite of 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.”
The letter reads in full “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.
“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 catarostophe.”