An Islamic rights body, Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria, (MMWG) has called for stiff sanctions on poor remunerations, irregular and non-payment of salaries by some media organuzations to journalists in the country.
The group, in a statement issued on Monday on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day, WPFD, and made available to our correspondent in Abuja, specifically called for “urgent laws which would make it impossible for such violations of fundamental human rights to continue in Nigeria.”
The statement, signed by the National Coordinator of the group, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to cause the National Assembly to amend relevant parts of the laws setting-up the Nigerian Press Council, NPC and National Broadcasting Commission, NBC giving them the powers to shut-down any erring media organisations that deny its workers regular payment of salaries.
It also emphasized the need for a template on reasonable salary to be paid to qualified media practitioners based on their qualifications and experience.
“It is well-known that people have varied objectives for setting up media outfits. While it is lawful to have political, economic and other lawful interests for setting up media organizations, running such organizations without human feelings such as neglect of payment of salaries is absurd, inhuman and condemnable,” Abdullahi stated.
The national coordinator, who is a human resource management expert, further said: “in operating media outfit, once it is apparent that the proprietors could not ‘make the ends meet’ such as non-payment of salaries, they need to shut-down for a while and re-strategise before re-opening or close-up completely instead of denying the workers their lawful entitlement.
“This irregularity according to the Media Watch Group is common with private media organisations, some of who pursue economic benefit to the detriment of workers’ welfare. This must not be allowed to continue.”
Abdullahi commended media practitioners in the country for their sacrifice, commitment and dedication to duty, adding that “like medical doctors, they too deserve Special Media Salary Scale (SMSS) as they work 24 hours of the day as this would motivate them to give their best to their employers and the nation at large.”
He, however, advised the Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria, BON; Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE; Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria, NPAN and the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ to urgently evolve antidotes against fake-news, political blackmail, publication of seditious, provocative and libelous news as well as airing offensive programmes; which usually fall them into conflicts, especially with the NBC.