NAWOJ urges media owners to insure newsmen

The Nigerian Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) wants media owners to take insurance policies for their newsmen, which their families can fall back on in case of any eventuality as they undertake their duties.
The Chairperson, NAWOJ, Rivers State Chapter, Mrs Lilllian Okonkwo, made this call on Wednesday during a three-day training for women journalists on Gender Equity and Safety/Gender Sensitive Reporting in Port Harcourt.
The training, which started on Nov. 25 to end on Nov. 27, would address such issues as Gender Issues/Equity; Journalists Rights and Gender Safety; Combating Sexual Harassment in the Workplace; Safety in the Field, Safety in Reporting among others.
Mrs Rafat Salami, a resource person, agreed with Okonkwo, saying that media houses should take the wellbeing of their reporters much more seriously than they did now.
“When you are deploying reporters to go and cover an event, especially in an area they are not familiar with, they should be deployed early enough for them to study that area.
“This will enable them to be able to play safe when there is crisis, especially the female journalists.
“Media owners must not only pay salaries, they must have insurance policies for journalists.
“Such that in the event of a negative occurrence, God forbid something happens, there should be something to console the family and something for them to fall back on,’’ Salami said.
She urged media owners and the unions to work together in ensuring journalists’ safety, saying that a living journalist was definitely more important than a dead one.
Salami said that only a journalist, who was healthy and alive, would do a good job for the employers.
In his speech, Mr Paulinus Nsirim, the Permanent Secretary, State Ministry of Information and Communication, said that female journalists had critical roles to play in the society.
Nsirim urged NAWOJ to put up campaigns to celebrate leaders who supported women and their well-being in the country.
“NAWOJ should campaign against women dressing like sex objects in order to reduce the rate of sexual harassment in the field and work places,’’ Nsirim said.
Furthermore, Mrs Atosemi Teetito, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs, advised female journalists to rid themselves of the notion that women were weak and soft.
Teetito, who was represented by Dr Carmelita Agbornbere, the Director, Ministry of Women Affairs, urged women to complement each other to achieve greatness and gender balance in the society.
On his part, Mr Enemi George, the Chairman, House Committee on Information and Training, urged women to pursue excellence in the society.
“Women who break barriers today are those who break the limits; if you see a failed society today then you have seen women that have failed.
“So I encourage women to break limitations, we will always support you,’’ the lawmaker said.

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