NUJ charges journalists to hold government, citizens accountable

Mr Chris Isiguzo, NUJ National President gave the charge at a news conference organised to brief the public on the activities the union had for 2024 World Press Day.

He said the union would present awards to deserving individuals and groups in commemoration of the Day in consideration of the important principles of press freedom as well as defend the media from attacks on their independence during the day.

He added that the union would use the occasion to recognise and pay tributes to all journalists who lost their lives in the line of duty.

Isiguzo described the press freedom as an indispensable pillar in promotion of the rule of law and democracy world over.

He explained that no democracy would thrive without citizen’s adequate access to transparent and reliable information.

According to him, press freedom is the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions toward promoting good governance and the right to expression.

“It serves as a catalyst in the mobilisation of the citizenry to hold their leaders accountable as well as promote speaking the truth to power.

“The press is the fourth estate of the realm recognised in the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended.

“It is the duty of the press to hold government and citizens accountable hence our decision this year to combined the presentation of the Good Governance Awards with the Press Freedom Awards,” he said.

He said the initiative would serve as a veritable means for assessing good governance and promotion of accountability in governance.

He explained that the awards would  also engender peer review and competition among political office holders and business leaders, and educate citizens towards holding their leaders accountable.

He noted that many Nigerian journalists had faced harassment, threat, physical injury, imprisonment and even death in the course of discharging their constitutional responsibilities.

“It is the courage and sacrifice of these journalists we are celebrating by organising the 2024 Nigeria Union of Journalists’ Press Freedom and Good Governance Awards,” he said.

He added that the award would be presented in seven categories which included:Torch Bearers of Press Freedom Awards, Best Investigative Reporter of the Year Award,  and the Press Freedom Platform Awards.

Others he said were:Defender of Press Freedom Awards,Life Time Achievement Awards, and Distinguished Friend of the Press Awards.

“Nomination of individuals and corporate bodies for the different categories of the awards opens on Feb. 15, 2024 and ends on March 28, 2024.

“Nominations should be sent by e-mail with supporting documents to pressfreedomandgoodgovernanceawards.nuj.ng,” the NUJ national president said.

He added that the Good Governance Awards would be in 22 categories which included Award in road construction, healthcare, education, agriculture, economic development and Information and Communication Technology (ICT)among others.

Isiguzo said the awards would also be given to public and political office holders who had made outstanding contributions to the defence of press freedom or had actively supported the press freedom.

He called on individuals and groups to support the union’s efforts to ensure a successful hosting of the Press Freedom Awards slated for May 4.

He added that the success of the event was for the collective good of all in our quest for a better Nigeria.

“We need to raise funds to organise this event and also improve the welfare of journalists.

“This is why we are appealing to some corporate bodies, both public and private as well as political and public office holders who are lovers of press freedom to partner with us,” he said.(https://newsatlarge.ng)

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