The Nigeria Union of Journalists has called for an end to exploitation of journalists through casualisation of their employment by some media organisations.
“This type of employment is promoting compromises in the journalism profession for financial gratifications,” Paul Jatau, the Chairman of NUJ, Plateau Council, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Jos.
He expressed worry that some media organisations engaged their reporters on contract for a long period without converting them to permanent staff, thus depriving them of many entitlements.
The NUJ chairman said labour laws do not allow the practice of casual staff for many years, yet many media organisations default in compliance to such laws, saying stringent actions must be taken to curtail the practice.
He said: “Some media organisations are fond of giving reporters only identity cards for the job without any form of remuneration.
“In Plateau, apart from government owned organisations, only three media organisations pay their reporters.”
He appealed to the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to press for the introduction of media salary scale to address the welfare of journalists.
He said: “We want members of the National Assembly especially those who have been in the profession to support our efforts to make it pass through the processes of legislation for implementation.”
Jatau also called for a law to checkmate the proliferation of online publications in the society, noting that quack journalists and other non-professionals are hiding under such cover to disseminate fake news and promote hate speeches.
He said: “We must sanitise the profession to prevent it from being an all comers venture and enable us discharge our duties as the watchdog of the society diligently.”
Jatau said NUJ in Plateau had facilitated trainings for journalists with organisations such as Google and Search for Common Ground to horn their skills in using internet and adopting peace journalism in their reports.
He said efforts were on top gear to build the NUJ House in the state, adding that the press center is being renovated to enable a conducive environment for journalists to discharge their duties and organise their events.
Jatau advised journalists to be circumspect in their reports and work towards galvanising the society through truthful and responsible reporting.