WOLE BALOGUN, Ado-Ekiti
The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) has berated the Senate for the introduction of the hate speech bill which seeks death penalty for offenders in the country.
The bill which passed first reading in the red chamber on Tuesday is being sponsored by the former senate spokesman, Aliyu Sabi Abdulahi.
The chairman of NUJ in Ekiti state, Mr. Rotimi Ojomoyela who spoke on Thursday noted that the bill when passed would be against masses in the country, saying ” we should not forget that our constitution allows for the citizens to express their views.”
He spoke during a public lecture deliver by the Rector of Federal Polytechnic Ile-Oluji, Ondo state, Professor Adedayo Fasakin as part of activities for the 2019 press week of the union.
He encouraged the Senate to be busy with bills that would help in transforming the economy of the country where massive job opportunities will be provided for the teeming youths.
According to him, “NUJ is against that bill because that bill will be used against the Nigerian masses; it is going to be used against opinions of the citizens and we should not forget that our constitution allows for the citizens to express their views.That bill amounts to duplicity of efforts.
“The National Assembly should be busy with things that are central to the improvement of lives of the people. It is when people does not have what to do that they go on social media but when we have employment opportunities, our people will be busy.They should create enabling environment for business to thrive instead of these inanities.”
Speaking on the topic, ‘Good Journalism : Impetus for Good Governance and National Development’ Professor Fasakin explained that journalists must be ready to join hands with government through their reportage in ending the growing insecurity, corruption and other vices in the country.
He said media has contributed in no small measure for the enthronement of good governance and nation’s development from the founding of the first newspaper, ‘Iwe Iroyin’ in by Reverend Henry Townsend in Abeokuta,Ogun state.
While advising government at all levels against gagging the media, the rector called on journalists to keep to their roles in setting agenda for the government in the overall interest of the country.
Fasakin said, ” The Media is not just nominally referred to as the Fourth Estate, this nomenclature is borne out of the humongous responsibilities expected of practitioners of Journalism. Government at all levels must realize that everyone especially the Press must be allowed to play its watchdog roles.
” However journalists must ensure that professionalism guide their conduct and practice all of the time. In the world where proclivity for fake news is uncontrollably high and the practice of sensationalism over substance is rife, they must ensure that the principle of gate keeping is sacrosanct.”