Journalists in Nigeria lament that adequate attention has not been paid to their welfare and they lack ample protection as they risk their safety to report the news during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is according to a survey conducted by media and civil society groups, including the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), Enough …

The post COVID-19: Nigerian Journalists Decry Poor Working Conditions During Pandemic appeared first on HumAngle.

Journalists in Nigeria lament that adequate attention has not been paid to their welfare and they lack ample protection as they risk their safety to report the news during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is according to a survey conducted by media and civil society groups, including the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), Enough is Enough (EiENigeria), International Press Centre (IPC), International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), and Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ).

It was conducted between April 27 and May 1 and received responses from 463 journalists, including reporters, editors, freelancers, and presenters from 73 media organisations across 33 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

In a press statement released on Friday and signed by Lanre Arogundade, IPC Executive Director, the groups disclosed the results of the survey and urged media executives to better equip and safeguard their employees.

While 84 per cent of the respondents have been outdoors to source for news since the coronavirus outbreak in Nigeria, only 35 per cent said their employers provided them with some form of additional support during assignments to keep them safe.

The support mostly came in the form of hand sanitiser, face masks, hand gloves, access to official vehicles, additional monetary allowance, training, and provision of specialised equipment to encourage social distancing.

81 per cent of the respondents said they need more monetary allowances to purchase protective items, 70 per cent asked for special insurance packages, and 64 per cent also supported the organisation of mandatory training on covering the pandemic. Other forms of support journalists say they need include access to official vehicles, hand sanitiser, and protective wears.

The press statement called on media owners and managers to provide more support to reporters on the field, ensure they are adequately insured and financially empowered, “while those owing salaries should have them paid”.

It further asked them to equip journalists with personal protective equipment as well as train them on crowdsourcing and taking advantage of technological tools for stories to prevent needless fieldwork.

The media and advocacy groups encouraged civil society organisations operating in the media space to “lead advocacies for the safety and support of journalists during the pandemic” and asked freelance journalists to take advantage of available reporting grants.

Meanwhile, even though journalists desire extra allowances to ensure their safety and as compensation for the additional risks, a number of media organisations have already disclosed plans to cut salaries or lay off workers.

HumAngle reported in April that, asides the increased risk of contracting COVID-19, journalists in Nigeria, and across Africa, are also subjected to various levels of harassment over their work during the pandemic.

Source:HumAngle