Bring killers of Vanguard reporter to justice, NUJ tells DSS

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The Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Emmanuel Ogbeche, has urged the Department of State Services (DSS) to ensure all those behind the death of Vanguard reporter, Tordue Salem, is brought to justice.

Ogbeche said this while presenting a keynote address at a seminar organised by the DSS on media and security at the weekend in Abuja.

The NUJ chairman regretted that the “Nigerian media is the whipping boy of all and sundry”.He said the index on press freedom speaks to this fact.

“Ranked 120 out of 180 countries, eight journalists murdered in six years and over 300 harassed, intimidated, detained and hounded, the number just added up with the harrowing death of Mr. Tordue Salem. Nigeria is ranked as one of the most dangerous places to be a journalist in West Africa by Reporters Without Borders,” Ogbeche said.

The NUJ chairman said a close working relationship between the media and security agencies is critical to ensure national security.

“For us to change this narrative and confront the existential threats we all face, those in the security organs of this country need to take into confidence the media. There is the need for such interface regularly and off-the-records briefings.

“Capacity building is imperative without which the understanding of national security and interest will be farfetched and misunderstood. Access also is fundamental. The idea that a journalist cannot reach the Media and Publicity Department, no matter how intangible the matter is, is not the ideal. Even on various social media platforms where interactions should be seamless, there have been complaints of far-in-between conversations from the security side.

“Building bridges requires all sides to be on the same page. This, however, does not mean surrendering one’s identity, independence and functions to the other, rather a common ground to have a society that works for all of us,” he said.

DSS Public Relations Officer, Dr. Peter Afunanya, said the media is a partner in progress with security agencies.

“The DSS sees the media as critical stakeholders, not just any type of stakeholder. But we regard them as fellow nation builders. They are partners in progress,” Afunanya said.

The spokesman, who presented a paper on fake news, urged journalists to desist from it as it is inimical to the society.

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