The Plateau state branch of the correspondents Chapel of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ on Monday raised concern on poor media relationship with the Plateau state government under Barr. Simon Bako Lalong. .
Rising up from their emergency congress the body advised the state Governor Simon Lalong to realize the critical role of information dissemination in his government by ensuring he sets up a functional media team that will effectively coordinate media activities in the state.
In a press statement jointly signed by Yusufu Aminu Idegu, the Chairman of the chapel and Secretary Peter Amine, the body sued for cordial working relationship between plateau state government and media representatives in the state.
According to the statement “our position has became necessary to ensure transparency in governance as promised “.
Pointing out that “we have followed with keen interest the composition of the media team of the Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong which comprises of Director of Press and Publicity Mr. Emmanuel Nanle, Senior Special Adviser Media and Publicity Mr Mark Lokeyen and Commissioner for Information and Communication Mallam Nazifi Muhammed” treat media with disrespect.
The correspondents disclosed that “It has been difficult for members of the Chapel to get the attention of the Director of Press as government mouth piece for the fact that he has been so busy to pick his calls especially when we needed to seek clarifications on a story that is related to government “.
“Members of the Chapel have lamented that, never been invited for any government functions in the state since the last seven months of the administration “.
“We only receive government Press Release via e-mails of members after a function”
“. This practice does not give members free access to government functions, government only e-mail us what they want us to report”
The statement further reads that. The Office of the Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity has not been made fully functional “.
“The Director of Press to the Governor appeared to us too busy with other official engagements other than that of media affairs, making the Director too busy to attend to media matters as expected “.
“Members of the Chapel have restricted access to Government House in Little Rayfield due to tight security check at the gate to Government House “.
“It is our candid observations that if the issues stated above, if not addressed, are capable of affecting coverage of government activities negatively and will not give room to journalists to actively participate in this government as the 4th estate of the realm “.
“The chapel also said that Government should resist the attempt to sensor the practice of journalism in the state “.
“In as much as we appreciate the posting of Government Statements by e-mails to journalists, we advised that members of the Chapel be accorded invitation to personally cover government functions as well “.
“The chapel also demand free access to Government House, Ministries and Agencies as well as government functions to avoid speculative stories “.
“We demand a Press tag for each registered members of the Chapel to enable us have free entrance to Government House so as to avoid embarrassing encounter with security agencies manning Government House Gate “.
“Government should also ensure the Office of Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity which is occupied by a professional journalist is made fully functional in the interest of smooth Government-Media relations “.
“Governor Simon Lalong should compel his media team to devote time for journalists in the state”
“We plead with the State Government to take seriously our positions with a view of addressing them in a manner that will further create smooth and cordial working relations with Government at all level “.
“The state government should note that members of the Correspondent’s Chapel remain loyal to Gov Simon Lalong administration “. Our observations and advice above therefore, are made to reiterate our resolve to work closely with Government and serve Government better in the years ahead “.