The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), FCT Council has cautioned security agencies against using the Covid-19 shutdown to harass journalists as they go about their lawful duties.
In a statement made available to newsmen on Tuesday and signed by its Secretary, Mr. Ochiaka Ugwu, it urged the security personnel to respect journalists as essential service providers and major partner in the efforts to curtail the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Council called on heads of security agencies in FCT to caution their officers and men from harassing journalists in the discharge of their duties as the shutdown lasts.
NUJ FCT said “They should desist henceforth from misusing the situation to restrict or punish media personnel.”
“To ensure that urgent measures to tackle the disease are not used as a pretext to hinder free flow of news and information nor hinder media freedom, Minister of Information and Culture announced that Identity Card of media personnel will serve as their pass during the shutdown.”
“Council wondered why security agents should harass our members upon displaying their ID card as directed by the authority.”
NUJ FCT then called on media owners to provide preventive kits and sanitizers to their crews and ensure only experienced reporters are made to handle critical report at the period.
While urging members to maintain social distancing at their live interview programmes, the union also called on media managers to allow colleagues work from home except where it was absolutely necessary to come to office or studio.
“However, NUJ FCT remains very committed to ensuring that any act to suppress free flow of news and information will be challenged even after the shutdown.” the statement added.
Council had earlier raised 7-Man-Committee to systematically monitor the activities of its members as well as their challenges during this period with aim of containing them.