The Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), has urged all tiers of government, the security agencies and development partners to henceforth recognise journalists as frontline workers during emergency periods.
The union noted that journalists usually play important roles during emergencies such as the outbreak of pandemics like COVID-19, and cholera, during wars and crises just like other professionals such as medical workers and security agents.
The union spoke through the Oyo State chairperson of NAWOJ, Jadesola Ajibola, insisting that journalists should be recognised as frontline workers.
She advised that journalists be given incentives like other professionals because they too played significant roles, especially during the heat of COVID-19.
Ajibola made these declarations on Tuesday while speaking during a one-day capacity building facilitated by Oyo NAWOJ in collaboration with Oyo State Emergency Operations Centre in Ibadan and World Health Organisation (WHO).
DAILY POST reports that the training which focused on the COVID 19 pandemic, vaccination and infodemic, had in attendance, Dr. Akinfemi Akinyode, State Epidemiologist, Dr Oluwabukola Alawale, Incident manager for COVID-19, Dr Adeniyi Adeniran: Incident manager for Tuberculosis, Dr Oluyinka Dania, Cluster consultant and Mr. John Akinoye: State Liason Officer NCDC.
The training was organised to strengthen and broaden the knowledge of journalists on COVID-19-related issues.
Ajibola said, “We need to recognise journalists as frontline workers during emergencies.
“Journalists should be seen and addressed as frontline workers and should be given hazard allowances.
“We report and do a lot of sacrifices, even during the COVID-19 period just like health workers and other professionals.
“But, when the government wants to give incentives and donate items, they give them to health workers not minding that journalists are the ones reporting all these events.
“We want the government and WHO and other agencies to see journalists as part of the people at the forefront during emergencies.
Akinyode, while addressing the gathering, explained that the training was organised so as to ensure that journalists have the necessary information about COVID-19 and other diseases.
He said, “This training was organised to ensure that journalists have the necessary information to give to the public. So that appropriate message can be passed to the members of the public”.