Media professionals in Kaduna, on Friday emphasized the need for a better welfare package and protection for journalists across Africa, so as to liberate them from the control of politicians and government officials.
The media stakeholders, who gather at a memorial lecture in honour of late journalist, Mr. Bagauda Kaltho, who was allegedly killed by the Nigeria authority in a staged bomb explosion in 1996, to commemorate the World Press Freedom Day organized by Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF), noted that journalists now live in fear.
Delivering his goodwill message, coordinator of League of Professional Online Journalists (LEPOJ), Alex Uangbaoje, said time has come for members of the profession to embark on massive advocacy for decent welfare package and protection to avoid compromise.
“Journalism in Nigeria, especially in Kaduna state is facing serious challenges. Today in Kaduna, journalists are living in fear, people are afraid to report for the fear of not being harassed, intimidated, arrested or even killed.
“My expectation is that, beyond celebrating the past heroes, it is important we begin an aggressive advocacy for a decent welfare package and protection for Africa Journalists.
“Mr. James Kaltho was an unknown hero in Journalism for those of us who started yesterday, since he died in 1996, know one seems to remember him, until AMDF, came up with this lecture series. It is time for everyone of us to wake up and fight the death that killed Mr. Kaltho, elso we all go his way.
“As members of League of Professional Online Journalists in Africa (LEPOJ), we will continue to partner AMDF in their drive at ensuring professionalism in the Journalism profession in Africa. I therefore thank AMDF, for this initiative by honouring Mr. Kaltho and pray for it sustainability so that it will become a forum to discuss greater issues that affect the journalism profession.” He added.
In her opening remarks, AMDF coordinator, Sekyen Dadik, said the Memorial Media Lecture Series was meant to immortalise Late James Bagauda Kaltho, with a view to always keep in memories what Mr. Kaltho stood for during his journalism lifetime.
“The lecture series is named after Late Mr. James Bagauda Kaltho, a Kaduna based investigative journalist, whom we believe disappeared in mysterious circumstances between 1996 and early 1997, because of his journalism work.
“The Annual Media Lecture Series, which will be observed around the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD), will examine varying issues that impact on media practice in Africa, as well as its role in shaping democracy. AMDF believes the Lecture Series will serve as compendium and assist media professionals in finding bearing, as well as contribute to the body of knowledge in Africa.
“Today, as we hold the first edition of the Lecture, we remember not only Bagauda Kaltho, but all journalists, whose lives were cut short while carrying out their mandate as eyes, ears and voices of the people. We also identify with our colleagues held by the authorities in the cause of their duty, not forgetting colleagues here in Kaduna whose cases are still pending in court and those harassed in the cause of their duty, as was reported in the state recently. She said.