The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), FCT Council, has accused the Federal Government of not protecting journalists covering the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Chairman of the council, Emmanuel Ogbeche, made this known in a statement on Wednesday.
He wondered why the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the FCT Administration’s committee is lacking media representation.
He said: “The various committees, those of the federal government and the FCT Administration, are lacking in strategic media representation. How can you have such sensitive committees without the input of media stakeholders especially the NUJ? From what we have seen, the messaging process is poor, inarticulate and not far-reaching and this is rather unfortunate.
“At a time such as this, what is required is are broad-based committees that bring stakeholders and those with the requisite professional background and not a wholly bureaucratic or partisan membership. But for the media on their own, there would have been no information. We are yet to hear a single jingle on the radio in any of the local languages. You can imagine that in Abuja which is beginning to see a surge in the number of those testing positive, not even a single jingle in say Gbagyi or Hausa because the media is not involved in the committees”.
“Yesterday (Tuesday) the PTK after keeping journalists for over 3 hours cancelled the daily briefing for inexplicable reasons. Does this show the seriousness required at this time? It also speaks to the fact of why the present SGF-led team should have its membership drawn from professional bodies.”
He opined that all the tiers of government – federal, state including FCT and local- should have media representatives in their committees.
Ogbeche also decried the fact that members of the Covid-19 task force were properly kitted when addressing journalists at the Presidential Villa, while those of the media had no protective gear, a situation he described as counter-productive.
He urged the government to provide protective tools such as masks, gloves, sanitizers and temperature guns as they keep working to keep the people abreast of developments.