The first female Professor of Mass Communication in Nigeria, Professor Stella Okunna, yesterday stated that press freedom in Nigeria is suffering, even as she charged journalists to be courageous and rise up against lack of press freedom in the country.
Prof. Okunna, made the disclosure at the public lecture of the Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria, (ACSPN), organized by the Department of Mass Communication Ebonyi State University, (EBSU) in collaboration with ACSPN, held at the Law Auditorium, CAS campus, of the institution.
She said journalism is an endangered profession that needs much courage, adding that such courage was displayed when the social media bill was proposed and all media organizations rose up and vehemently opposed that bill because it was meant to gag the press.
She said Nigeria as a country is in a very bad shape, adding that urgent action needs to be taken to salvage the situation.
“ Are lecturers writing about lack of press freedom in Nigeria? Things are going bad, things have broken and require amendment. Nigeria is highly scattering.
“When Obasnajo was President, somebody sang a song-Nigeria jaga jaga, everything scatter scatter and Obasonjo said your mother scatter scatter, that was then. Have things not scattered more now? Things are worst. Sometimes, I go to the markets and my heart breaks for young men and women who are bringing up young children.
“Things are really getting worst, are we speaking as journalists? Are we writing about them? Press freedom in Nigeria is suffering. How many of you remember or know about the social media bill that was proposed? This is one of the few times in Nigeria all media organizations; NUJ, Guild of Editors, Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria(BON), rose up vehemently and opposed that bill because it was meant to gag the press even more.
“Recently, I went to Enugu Correspondent Chapel of NUJ to speak about their Annual Lecture and my topic was Journalism: the journey of an endangered profession and when I began my profession, I knew that journalism is really an endangered profession. So, it takes courage and if you are not courageous, you cannot go into that profession. It is one profession where courage matters a lot”, she noted
In his remarks, Chairman of the occasion and former Commissioner for Information in the state, Dr Chike Onwe, said Nigeria is at crossroads with things falling apart completely in the country.
The Vice President, South East zone of ACSPN, Dr. Ifeyinwa Nsude, explained that journalists have a role to play in the development of the country and urged them to remain focus in the wake of the challenges facing the nation.
She also encouraged communication scholars, students and Professionals to register as members of ACSPN, stating that before now, there was no strong link between communication scholars and practitioners and because of that, so many things are going wrong.
“So this people noticed it and now brought the idea of coming up with a platform whereby all of us will work hand in hand in order to carry the society forward”. she added.