Shettima: Why Journalists Should Be Appreciated, Celebrated

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA, December 19, (THEWILL) -  Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State on Thursday hailed the contributions of the media to the development of the country, saying they should be appreciated and celebrated. Describing the media practitioners as life-savers, the governor lamented the meagre resources available to them, which, according to him, fall short of their massive contributions. Shettima made this observation while declaring open the Northeast zonal meeting of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Maiduguri, the state capital, saying "journalists work very hard but earn little." He said journalists are heroes that ought to be appreciated and celebrated always but lamented that as the fourth estate of the realm and conscience of the society, they were the least appreciated and recognised. "We have in the country a great press that is peopled by very hard working, fearless, courageous and unrelenting professional who work so much and earn so little as wages in most cases. They don't enjoy benefits that correspond with the work they do and hazard they go through. "When there is crisis, everyone hides but journalists go in search of what is happening to inform those hiding so as to make them safer in their hideouts. During festivities, when others wear all manner of clothes and plan outings with their families and friends, a journalist is busy capturing how the celebration take place, he or she is excluded from the celebration. "For me journalist plays a significant role in disseminating useful  information that often saves lives during crisis or natural disasters. It is pertinent to note that during crisis or disaster, the ordinary citizens   always seek for escape route to avoid falling victims, journalists on the contrary confront scenes of the incident to get a clear picture of the incidents so that they could inform the public,'' the governor  who was appointed as the zonal patron of NUJ, said. He therefore urged media practitioners to ensure objectivity and balance in their reportage so that all parties could get fair hearing. The National President of NUJ, Comrade Mohammed Garba, said the conference was organised to deliberate on issues affecting the union and the nation  at large. He noted that though the 2015 elections are still over a year from now, the countdown has already begun thus necessitating the urgent need for the union to extensively discuss  how to confront the challenges ahead especially concerning the security challenges associated with covering election activities. The Borno State Chairman of NUJ, Abba Kakami,   said the council resolved to organise its week this year 10 years after the last one. He expressed gratitude to the state government for its usual support to the union, urging the government to involve journalists in the marshal plan of rebuilding the state after the Boko Haram insurgency. On her part, NUJ Vice President (northeast), Aisha Ibrahim, said the union was holding its zonal meeting to review events in the area as well as its gains and losses. She said the situation in the zone and country is worrisome, stressing that the meeting would equally deliberate on issues affecting the zone.