Rivers State commissioner for information and communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, has described as enormous, the safety challenges being faced by journalists practicing in Nigeria.
Nsirim disclosed this yesterday in Port Harcourt while declaring open the 2021 Correspondents Week of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Rivers State.
The week-long programme has the theme: “Survival of Journalists in Security and Economic Uncertainties In Nigeria: Focus on Strategic Reporting of the Maritime Sector.”
The commissioner, who was represented by the director of publicity in the Ministry of Information and Communications, Celestine Ogolo, expressed regrets that majority of the challenges came from security agencies.
He said, “Journalists in Nigeria face enormous safety challenges in fulfilling their constitutional responsibility to the society. Challenges of safety of journalists are partly negative disposition of stakeholders in the society, including actors in government in addition to existing institutional encumbrances under which the media operates.
“Thus, journalists have suffered loss of valuables, psychological trauma, bodily injuries, damaged cameras, loss of lives, loss of official documents and even phones which they use to do their work.
“Most of these attacks against journalists are mostly from hoodlums, political thugs, armed robbers and security agencies, especially the police. During the Covid-19 pandemic era, several journalists were harassed by the police while doing their job.”
Earlier in his welcome address, chairman of the Correspondents’ Chapel, Amaechi Okonkwo, said the Correspondents’ Week was a period of self-examination, review and relaxation with friends of the Chapel in Rivers State and beyond.