The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) has written a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari titled, ‘Convulsions in the Media Industry,’ asking him to save the media industry from collapse by providing financial bailout for the industry.
The letter signed by Chris Isiguzo, National President (NUJ) says that a bailout has become necessary because “media organisations are daily being asphyxiated as a result of the economic downturn occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The letter reads thus:
“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 peacebuilding. 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.
“Today, the 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 thinking 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 dements and request for the urgent intervention of the Federal Government to 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 you urgent intervention to avert a catastrophe.”