The Nigeria Police Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, has described the safety and security of journalists as crucial to the growth of any society.
Adejobi made the assertion on Thursday during a media week organised by the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), News Agency of Nigeria Lagos Chapel.
The event had the theme: “Health and Security of Nigerian Journalists: Emerging Consideration”.
Adejobi was represented by the Pubic Relations Officer of Zone 2 Command of the Nigeria Police Force, SP Hauwa Idris-Adamu.
He advised journalists to prioritise their safety, saying that insecurity was a global challenge.
“Journalists should be security conscious, they should be vigilant and should not bring out their gadgets in an environment that is not safe.
“The need for safety and security of media professionals cannot be overemphasized.
“Everyone is advised to be conscious of his or her safety and security wherever and whenever.
“We all should pay attention to where we are, in whose presence we make and answer business calls, who we give custody of our wards; most importantly, we need to know who our neighbours are,” he said.
Adejobi urged journalists to have proper means of identification to distinguish themselves from non-professionals.
He called on journalists to exhibit professionalism.
“That is, knowing who to ask what, how and when to ask in case of non-media friendly environments, and while adopting espionage as a means.
” The police spokesman said that investigation was useful in journalism.
“Proper investigation into events will help to reduce, if not completely eradicate, fake news which is very inimical to the growth and development of our society.
“It is expected of media professionals to give exact, established and proper reports that are healthy for the targeted audience and capable of promoting the dignity of the profession.
” He said that journalists and the police should work together for the benefit of the nation.
Adejobi said that every citizen had a duty to police his or her environment as policing was the duty of all and sundry and should not be left to security agencies alone.
In his address of welcome, the Chairman of NUJ, NAN Lagos Chapel, Mr Yunus Yusuf, said that the purpose of the symposium was to discuss how the job of the journalists affected his mental health and security.
“Many journalists become witnesses to disasters, human sufferings and violent events at some points in their careers.
“Journalists are oftened burdened by mental stress created by the nature of their work.
“Stress and psychological trauma are major occupational risks for journalists,” Yusuf said.
According to him, journalists, as watchdogs of the society, write about problems of others but no one cares for them.
“During elections, journalists are attacked while politicians are protected by security agents.
Nobody protects journalists,” he said.
Yusuf added that journalists were harassed when they wrote stories unfavorable to some people or organisations.
The Managing Director of SUNU Health Nig. Ltd., Dr Patrick Korie, said that there was knowledge gap on the safety and health of journalists.
Korie urged journalists to make their health a priority.
“Take the issue of your health serious; a journalist who is not in good health cannot function well.
” He urged journalists to regularly undergo medical checkups.