By Frank Tietie, Executive Director and Lead Counsel, Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER).
The Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER) views Nigeria’s hosting of the World Congress of the International Press Institute as a mockery of journalism going by the way the profession is being presently practised in Nigeria.
The world event which is expected to begin tomorrow the 21st of June, 2018 is an expression of deception by some owners and proprietors of Nigerian private media houses who operate in contrast with the set theme of the Congress, “Why Good Journalism Matters”.
Let it be made clear that there cannot be good journalism in Nigeria where owners and proprietors of private media houses humiliate journalists by asking them to use their ID cards as instruments of begging and manipulation to survive while the proprietors continue to owe media workers massive arrears of salary and pensions. That is not journalism but sheer irresponsibility and profligacy with shocking criminal dimensions aand deprivations leading to excruciating pain and unnecessary, early death of journalists….
CASER has been in the forefront, in the call and insistence that the unpaid salaries, emoluments and pensions of retired media workers especially of Thisday Newspapers Ltd and Africa Independent Television (AIT) be paid immediately to its members who were unceremoniously told to go home without bare necessities to live on.
CASER through its public interest litigation secretariat shall use the Nigerian legal process together with international pressure to ensure that these media workers’ salary and pension arrears are paid immediately to them. CASER has perfected plans to ensure that either the media houses are compelled in law to pay these arrears of salaries with pensions or they would be declared bankrupt, operated under a receivership strictly for such purpose or they would be outrightly liquidated with their property, buildings and chattels which include cars, trucks, vans, equipment etc would be sold to recover enough money to pay the salary and pension arrears….
CASER remains committed to the principles of free speech and the establishment of a free and qualitative press in Nigeria. This is in fulfillment of the provisions of Section 22 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which command the Press-radio, television and newspapers not only to be free but to hold government accountable to the people of Nigeria.