The Rivers State council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has condemned violent attacks on journalists covering the state and warned that it might consider the withdrawal of services of its members if the trend continues.
This came in reaction to the attacks on journalists working for Channels Television at the botched rally of Save Rivers Movement (SRM) in Bori, headquarters of Khana Local Government Area of the state last Sunday.
Rising from an emergency meeting of the state executive council yesterday, the union released a nine-point communiqué expressing concern over the political situation in the state and the increasing attacks on journalist covering the state.
The communiqué, signed by Chairman of the state council of the NUJ, Mr. Opaka Dokubo, and the Secretary, Stanley Job Stanley, noted that journalists were not interested parties in the political crisis currently rocking the state, but were merely carrying out their professional duties.
“We condemn the attack on journalists working with Channels Television on Sunday, January 19, 2014, at Bori, headquarters of Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, during the botched Save Rivers Movement rally.
“We recall similar attacks on journalists working with TV Continental, Sun Newspapers, RSTV, Rhythm 93.7 FM, among others.
“We find this situation unacceptable and urge political parties, groups and their followers to engage in their activities and leave journalists alone to practise their chosen profession.”
The union also condemned the involvement of policemen and other security agents in the violence against journalists and innocent people in the state.
“We also condemn a situation where policemen and other security agents attack journalists or even stand-by and watch while journalists are being attacked by hoodlums.
“We call on the police and other security agencies to ensure the safety of lives and property of all Nigerians in Rivers State, irrespective of their political affiliations.
“We also call on the police and other security agencies to ensure the protection of journalists operating in the state, in the discharge of their professional responsibilities.”
The NUJ therefore warned that if the attacks were not stopped and the safety of journalists guaranteed in the state, it would withdraw the services of its members in the state.
“We wish to warn that should these incessant attacks continue on journalists in Rivers State, the state council of the NUJ shall take appropriate steps, including the withdrawal of our services”.