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Don tasks NUJ on training, retraining of members

The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) has been urged to rebrand itself through aggressive training and retraining of members on nuances of democracy and Information Communication Technology.

Prof. Nnamdi Obiaraeri made the call at the celebration of the 2019 World Press Freedom Day by the Abia chapter of NUJ in Umuahia on Wednesday.

Obiaraeri, a Professor of Law at Imo State University (IMSU), who delivered a public lecture titled: “The Role of the Media in Elections and Democracy”, said the training should have emphasis on specialisation.

The don charged the union to brace up to the current realities facing journalism profession, saying “a physician must heal himself”.

He urged the union to stamp out quackery and unprofessional people from its midst just like in the other professions like law and medicine.

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“NUJ must wake up to fight fake journalists, including bringing bills to the appropriate authorities. Everybody must not be a journalist,” he said.

Obiaraeri, also a former Commissioner for Information in Imo, charged the NUJ to champion just and equitable conditions of service for its members.

“A journalist who is paid nothing or peanuts is vulnerable and can easily be compromised.

“NUJ must work out hazard allowances and life insurance packages for its members,” Obiaraeri said.

The professor of law added that the nation owed its present democracy and its continued sustenance to the media.

He tasked the media to change the sorry narrative of the nation which was reputed to be a “sleeping giant”.

Obiaraeri said the media must cooperate with government to ensure, as a matter of compulsion, that the dividends of democracy were delivered timely in a sustainable manner.

Mr John Emejor, Chairman, NUJ, Abia, earlier in his address described the media as one of the critical and intervening institutions that must be on ground to ensure democracy, free and fair elections were in place.

According to him, the media have no business to disseminate false or fake news or hate messages because what they publish, broadcast and transmit have profound effect and influence on the nation

He called on employers of journalists to pay them living wage, stressing that gentlemen of the press deserved their pay like other workers.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the public lecture witnessed an impressive turnout of journalists, including Mr Ralph Egbu, former Commissioner for Information in Abia. (NAN)