Journalists, also known as members of the fourth estate of the ream, are often disregarded, disrespected and abused especially by the political class and security agencies.
However, a Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) Chieftain and former Delta State gubernatorial aspirant, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, has called for the provision of life insurance for journalists mostly those in volatile zones.
The PDP Stalwart, who has journalism background and a friend of the pen profession also advocated that those in war fronts and those covering the recent pandemic, should be catered for.
The PDP Chieftain equally called for the improvement of working conditions for journalists while speaking in Crown FM Radio station, Warri, Delta State.
He explained that journalists like in conflict situations are daily exposed to grave danger which may result in maiming or death in course of engaging in their professional calling.
Highlighting some of the risk behind the profession, Onuesoke stated: “There is the possibility of assassination or murder of media professionals in the course of doing their jobs. They are assaulted and battened. There is possibility of kidnapping or disappearance of journalists investigating or reporting on sensitive issues.
“There is equally the possibility of arson or bombing of media facilities for reporting on sensitive issues. The danger surrounding journalists while doing their work is enomous and as such they need to be protected with a life insurance policy.”
He advised that there should be urgent need to enhance the working condition of journalists in the country, considering that there could be no freedom of expression or freedom of the press where journalists work under precarious conditions and are exposed to danger, poverty or fear.
Quoting Committee To Protect Journalists, Onuesoke disclosed that no fewer than 53 journalists were killed on the job in 2018, adding that 34 of whom were targeted for murder in reprisal for their work.
Said he: “The numbers, which represent those killed between January 1 and December 14, make 2018 the deadliest year for journalists in the past three years, according to CPJ data,” he stated.
He said Nigeria journalists should be respected and giving free hands to ask questions most during media briefing without intimidation or harassment of any kind.
The PDP Chieftain advised all stakeholders to insure, enhance salaries, allowances, pensions and general condition of service for media professionals.