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Confab Harps On Well-being, Mental Health Of Journalists In Nigeria

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Media professional bodies and stakeholders in Nigeria have been urged to prioritize the wellbeing and mental health of journalists.
Media organisations in the country (government and privately owned) have also been called upon to provide continuous mental health education and self-protection training for their staff.

This is coming in view of neglect, lack of incentives and rising hostilities against journalists and media professionals in the country.

The charge was given as part of the commendations contained in a communique issued at the end of a two-day Media Capacity Building Workshop for Journalists on Safety/Security Consciousness and Mechanisms in Investigative Reporting and Coverage of Conflicts/Dangerous Assignments which took place in Kano State.

The workshop was convened by the International Press Centre (IPC), with support from Shehu Musa Yar’adua Foundation, Ford Foundation, Luminate and OSIWA for supporting the workshop through the funding of the project on “Contextualizing and Publicizing Real Costs & Mobilising Against Increasing Violation of Media Freedom, Journalists Rights and Freedom of Expression”.

A total of 25 female and male journalists from online, print and broadcast media who participated at the workshop were taken through lectures on entrenching ethics and professionalism, building safety and security consciousness and giving deserved attention to physical and mental health, especially in the build up to the 2023 General Elections.

The participants also observed that journalists’ welfare in Nigeria has worsened over the decades without concrete efforts to improve the situation, adding that Journalists themselve have not demonstrated sufficient interest in reporting issues that directly affect their welfare and safety individually and collectively.

They therefore suggested that there should be greater collaboration between media professionals bodies and Departments of Mental Health Services of tertiary institutions in every state of the federation to mobilise for sustained interest in advocacies on improved welfare and mental health of journalists.

The confab equally harped on the need for media support groups like IPC to continue to prioritise capacity building on digital safety/security and safety consciousness for journalists and other media professionals.

The participants further recommended that skill acquisition and capacity development should be prioritised by media establishments as part of the welfare package for journalists, adding that media professional bodies and stakeholders should ensure that the laws providing for the protection of journalists in the country be fully implemented at all levels.

They also called on journalists and other media professionals practicing and publishing online to openly declare commitment to the upholding of the ethical and professional standards of journalism as spelt out in codes of ethics/conduct while also taking necessary protection and safety measures.

The participant stressed that there should be sustained engagement with security agencies to push concerns relating to abuses against journalists and demand for stiff penalties for violation of the “rights’’ of any journalist.

“Other independent bodies and NGOs should make it a duty to join the IPC in the fight for the protection of journalists. There should be conscious efforts to sustain the push for the Journalism Enhancement Bill (JEB) and there should be engagements with media stakeholders to deliberate on funding for the JEB”, they participants further commended.

Earlier in his welcoming address, IPC’s Media Monitoring Officer, Omolola Arogundade said the training was designed as part of steps towards providing appropriate response to relentless assaults on journalists and media institutions by both state and non-state actors, with the perpetrators rarely facing justice.

The three resource persons who made presentations at the workshop were drawn from the academia. Dr. Nura Ibrahim, Head, Department of Information and Media Studies in the Faculty of Communication, Bayero University, Kano facilitated the sessions on “Data and Digital Security & Related Security Issues in Investigative Reporting and Coverage of Dangerous Assignments”, while his colleague, Dr. Ruqayyah Yusuf Aliyu from the same department, took the participants through “Investigative Journalism or Reporting: Understanding the Challenges & Possible Dangers”.

Dr. Haruna Yakub, a Medical Doctor with Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital in the Department of Psychiatry facilitated the sessions dealing with “Attacks on Journalists, Mental Health Challenges and the Imperative of Effective Management.


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