A lecturer at the Department of Linguistic & Communication Studies of the University of Port Harcourt in Rivers State, Dr. Sunny Mbazie has advocated the setting up of a Journalism Rights Commission to handle issues of attacks against journalists in Nigeria.

The University Don who was speaking as a guest lecturer at Abia NUJ Press Centre Umuahia on the theme “Information as a Public Good” to mark the 2021 World Press Freedom Day held on Monday, said such commission would protect the interest of journalists.

He equally recommended that the rights of the press and its mode of operation be inculcated in the curriculum of the training of the Police to improve the relationship between the Police and journalists.

The Don called for the enactment of a Shield Act for journalists to ensure the protection of sources of information of journalists as obtainable in advanced countries.

He explained that the shield law would guarantee true freedom of the press.

Mbazie equally said that reactivation of the extant laws for the practice of journalism and press council would assist in dealing with quacks involved in unethical practices.

He suggested that efforts be made to bail out media houses affected by the COVID-19 economic challenge, as such would help to strengthen public information.

The Academician maintained that the Freedom of Information Act should be amended to repeal cumbersome sections that do not ensure a speedy supply of information necessary to meet deadlines in newsrooms.

He said there must be freedom of the press for democracy to thrive, adding that elections and votings are not enough tenets of democracy but freedom of the press is part of it and should be allowed.

He urged journalists to avoid recklessness in reportage which is capable of inciting the public and enjoined the NUJ to prepare journalists to be responsive, saying that journalism is not for the lily-livered.

Mbazie who regretted that the NUJ has not done anything to immortalize the late Dele Giwa who paid the supreme price for journalism in Nigeria was of the view that funds be set aside to cater for the families of courageous journalists who could be incarcerated in the course of performing their jobs.


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