Rafat Salami, the Secretary of the FCT Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ), has called on the Federal Government to declare state of emergency on the media industry in order to check the maltreatment of journalists.
She made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
Salami, who participated in the recent convention of the Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria, described the nonpayment of salaries by most media owners as unfortunate.
“It is a threat to the survival of democracy.
“It is so sickening that there are journalists here in Abuja who have not been paid salaries for over 30 months.
“Some were laid off without getting a dime.
“We have seen journalists who have moved from one media organisation to another for over four years, hoping to be getting salaries and none of them is being paid.
“The Federal Government should step in and declare a state of emergency on the media industry.
“When the media is not performing optimally, the nation suffers.
“In many negotiations I have been involved in, I told them that it is in the interest of the journalist for all businesses and media houses to thrive.
“But do not enslave us,” she said.
Salami, who accused the media owners of breach of contract by not paying salaries, said “it is a sin not to pay workers their salaries and other allowances.’’
“How can you sleep knowing that you have not paid your staff salaries for many months? Many of the media owners seem not to have conscience any more.
“If NUJ wants to close down media houses that are not paying salaries, we will be closing down about 90 per cent of private media houses in this country,” she said.
She, however, urged journalists to always report the truth regardless of who was involved, saying “that is a core value of journalism.’’ (NAN)