The primary responsibility of a journalist is to gather information, write news content, and present the news in an honest and balanced manner. In addition to investigating and reporting on current events, they also work on articles and features that update and influence public opinion.
For the United Correspondents, a group under the Bayelsa State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), upholding these tenets of journalism is a responsible they owe to their various media organizations in particular and Nigeria at large.
It has been reported that the representatives of national newspapers in the state under the aegis of the Federated Correspondents’ Chapel (FCC) of the Nigeria Union Journalists (NUJ), Bayelsa Council, have allegedly threatened to boycott Bayelsa State Government activities during the chapel’s monthly congress meeting.
In a resolution signed by the vice chairman of the Chapel, Pauline Oyibe, and the members, a vote of no confidence was also passed on Daniel Alabrah, the Chief Press Secretary to the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri.
The chapel further placed an embargo on all press releases from the office of the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, adding that they cannot continue to rely only on press statements to report activities of Governor Douye Diri.
According to a statement signed by the chapel chairman, Chris Eze and Secretary, Bassey Willie, the decision is sequel to further review of their earlier resolution passing vote of no confidence on the CPS, Daniel Alabrah.
In a counter reaction to the resolutions by the Federated Correspondents Chapel, the United Correspondents which also comprised of journalists from national and regional newspapers, said they are not part of the decision to place embargo on government functions and press releases in the state.
The group made its decision known in a statement signed by the Chairman and Secretary, James Akam and Kenechukwu
Obiajuru after an emergency meeting held in Yenagoa, on Friday, March 18, 2022.
According to the members of the group, they are a professional media group and not a political pressure group, hence, it is their sole responsibility to source for news and report same for their different media organisations.
The group also stressed that it has no reason, so far, to place embargo on press releases emanating from the office of the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, or boycott any function of the Government of Bayelsa State.
The statement reads, “That our duty includes informing the public as well as protecting the interest of the journalism profession, our various media organisations and that of the citizens of Bayelsa State and Nigeria at large
“That as journalists, we are a professional media group and not a political pressure group
“That members of the United Correspondents were never part of any meeting where an embargo was issued to boycott Bayelsa State Government House press releases or the state government’s functions. To that extent, the decision of any chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in the state to boycott Government House press releases and functions is not binding on us. We therefore dissociate ourselves individually and collectively from such a decision or action
“It is pertinent to also state that this clarification does not in any way suggest that chapels under the NUJ in the state do not have the right to demand and protect the rights of its members but that we do not wish to be linked to a resolution we had no right to vote for or against.
“Having stated these facts, we wish to, at this point, make it known that we do not have any reason, so far, to place an embargo on press releases emanating from the office of the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, or boycott any function of the Government of Bayelsa State.”