Journalists have been urged to make their personal safety as number one priority as they carry out their essential services to the society.

Chairman and Secretary of Abuja chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Emmanuel Ogbeche and Ochiaka Ugwu respectively, in a jointly signed statement said current situation places a burden on journalists and media workers in general to be at the frontlines of reporting on the pandemic, and in so doing put themselves and their loved ones at risk.

The statement read “This year’s celebration comes at a very challenging time- Covid-19 pandemic. Here in Abuja as in other parts of the country and world, there is palpable fear, uncertainty and overwhelming dependence on the media for information and awareness on news and developments on the coronavirus pandemic.

“This places a burden on journalists and media workers in general to be at the frontlines of reporting on the pandemic, and in so doing put themselves and their loved ones at risk.

“We are pleased that as colleagues, you have demonstrated the highest standard of ethics even in the face of obvious lack in terms of the provision of personal protective equipment by government and media owners, harassment and intimidation by security personnel and poor working conditions.

“On this day, we at the NUJ FCT charge you to take your personal safety as priority, while we continue to engage on how to provide support in this difficult period.

“Our most fundamental charge is that as journalists and media workers, you owe the profession, society and yourself the duty to report objectively, transparently, accurately without fear or favour. 

“You can ill-afford, as noted by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his statement, be partisans with those who have “given rise to a second pandemic of misinformation, from harmful health advice to wild conspiracy theories,” it said.

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