Journalists Decry Lack of Insurance Policy, Despite Job’s Hazards | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Journalists Decry Lack of Insurance Policy, Despite Job’s Hazards

Posted: Jun 26, 2015 at 12:04 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Judith Eshemitan,  Lagos


Following incessant attacks on journalists across the country, pressmen have reiterated the need for the provision of insurance policy by media houses for their staff.

Based on the risky nature of the profession, there is the need for journalists to be insured, but the big question is how many media houses today make provision for this facility.

This prompted Daily Independent to seek views of media practitioners of some media establishments, who made a call to their employees to put their safety into perspective.

Abdulwahab Abdullah, Secretary, Nigerian Union of Journalists, Vanguard Chapel said, “The nature of the job we do is critical and dangerous. To start with, the timing of the job is unpredictable; journalists leave their homes with and without holidays, they leave home very early, which expose them to danger; same is applicable on their return. Sometimes journalists get home 1:00a.m, 12:00a.m, 2:00a.m, depending on their production schedule.

“If you look at most accidents that involve journalists for instance, its those who leave their offices by 11:00 to 12:00a.m, when they are already tired.

“The same thing with those who have been attacked by armed robbers on their way home; some have even been killed especially along Ikorodu area of Lagos State. They are on daily basis exposed to risk. So like I said, an issue like this is supposed to be a front banner in every media house.

“Journalists need a firm insurance policy that will cover them in times of sickness and perhaps health hazards. And that will extend to life insurance so that if they suffer injury or perhaps die in the cause of their duty, their families will be able to lay their hands on something.

“I am expecting the unions governing journalists to pursue this and ensure that it becomes a practice in every media house. And if possible, let them initiate a bill to the national assembly for them to make sure it is part of the duty for every media house to create an avenue for journalists to have insurance for themselves,” he emphasised.

Akinwale Akintunde, Chairman, National Association of Judiciary Correspondents, Ikeja Branch said “the issue of insurance policy for journalists is very important. Journalists are prone to hazards. We know it us not the only job prone to hazard but having practiced for so many years, I believe it is more hazardous than many other professions. Journalists face a lot of dangers daily some of which result in death. A two-paragraph story can cause hired assassins to come after the writer and can lead to his/her death; meanwhile you are only doing your hob as a journalist.

“However, if you have a good insurance policy as a backup, if something happens to you in the course if your duty, the family you are leaving behind will not suffer.

“As I speak to you I am not sure many media houses not even mine provide this coverage. In my experience on this job, I have seen editors assassinated and nothing happened thereafter.

“When you hear of cases like this, and there are no good insurance policy in place it will deter and discourage people who want to come into the profession.

“When this policy is in place, it will encourage people to work harder and to embark on investigative journalism. Investigative stories often times land journalists in serious trouble, hence the passion to do it is no longer there. After the death of journalist, the media houses feel the only thing they owe the deceased is a quarter page advert or at most half a page, thereafter the family left behind suffers.

“Although some media houses claim to have insurance policy, personally, I have not seen anyone benefiting from it.

“I want to use this medium to call on our national body, the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) to take this as a challenge that they need to work upon. Compel media houses to give journalists’ insurance policy as well as health benefits. These are programmes the NUJ should embark upon as welfare packages for practicing journalists,” he concluded.