by crossriverwatch admin
The Cross River State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists has referred to the ethics and disciplinary committee some of its members over their role in the recent publications about the Union and whose conduct the, Union say, is suspect.
Rising from its monthly Congress of January 2014, the state council of the Union noted with chagrin the recent publications targeted against her on an online medium CrossRiverWatch and the Nigerian Chronicle.
In a unanimous decision at the congress, members frowned at the unprofessional reportage of the proceedings during a press briefing with Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, noting that contrary to the canons of journalism practice, there was no attempt by CrossRiverWatch reporter to balance its report on the purported endorsement of Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba which story the Weekend Chronicle reporter skewed deliberately to discredit the union.
The Ethics and Disciplinary Committee which consists of some senior members of the journalism profession in the State has been given a week to investigate the matter and report to the Congress through the State Working Committee for further action.
In a statement signed by the State Council Chairman, Pastor Ndoma Akpet, and State Secretary, Comrade Nsa Gill, the Union said: “Members of the union believed that an ordinary banter during a press briefing had been blown out of proportion by the two media due to political considerations, adding that the whole reportage of the event by the two reporters concerned was deliberately skewed to denigrate the leadership of the state council of the NUJ to achieve political gains.
Following the directive, the Ethics and Disciplinary Committee in a letter dated January 23rd January 2014 and signed by Denis Utang and Dianabasi Effiong the Chairman and Secretary of the committee to Emma Unah of CrossRiverWatch and Solomon Azu, the News Editor of Chronicle, the duo were requested to appear before the committee to give evidence of their roles in the story.
The letter which was obtained by CrossRiverWatch reads:
“Invitation to Appear Before The Ethics And Disciplinary Committee.
Professional misconduct against some members of NUJ cross river state Council
Sequel to an online publication by CrossRiverWatch, and the week end chronicle on the purported endorsement of the senate leader, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba by the Cross River State Council of the NUJ, you are hereby requested to appear before the ethics and disciplinary committee of the NUJ to give written and or oral evidence of your role in publication/report.
Time and date for your appearance are as follows:
January 28, 2014
But in a swift reaction, the Publisher of CrossRiverWatch told our reporter that the NUJ in Cross River has become one of the axis of evils in the State that is supporting the structures that are oppressing our people.
He said: “I have tried so much to make sure I don’t get quoted on this platform unless I am writing an opinion article but this is forcing me to talk. I had told you earlier that I don’t want this to look like CRWatch is doing battle with the NUJ because we have a very robust relationship with the Union. The National Chairman is my friend and respected senior colleague who did pay us a lot of respect by sending a very high level delegation to Calabar during our first year anniversary. Most of our reporters and stringers in CRWatch are also respected members of the Union in Calabar who I have no intention of offending.
“But I must say that there are certain individuals within the Union who are finding it difficult to manage their ego. I have no problem with any union summoning any of its members for disciplinary reasons. I do belong to and have enough organizational discipline to appreciate that fact. But when a Union begins to summon people for simply doing their work, it becomes worrisome.
“There will be very little to say now so I do not pre-empt the committee because at about now, they are sitting. When they give their verdict then we can react appropriately but one thing you can be sure is that CrossRiverWatch will do everything within the ambit of the laws to defend the interest of our team members.
“Emma Unah was still on Christmas Holiday in Yala when the press briefing took place. Why is the committee inviting him? In any case, we have the video clip of the session where they all chorused yeaaaaaa to Senator Egba’s question about whether he should re-contest. What do they want to achieve by this procession to Golgotha?
“The present leadership of the Union in Cross River State has a problem with CrossRiverWatch and they have demonstrated that hostility at different fronts, because we have refused to do journalism “their own style.
“It was a member of the Union executives who led the police to Emma Unah’s house in the middle of the night to effect his arrest last year.
“The Union in Cross River State has become part and parcel of the oppressive machinations that are pauperizing the Cross River hoi polloi. For those who know me, I am first an activist before I became a journalist and I will not refrain from resisting every attempt to deter us from doing our job regardless of where it is coming from.
“I am a member of the All Cross River Youth Forum, ACRIYOF, which in November scheduled a press conference at Jorany Hotel in Calabar, a day after our conference. The Union members came that morning disrupted the briefing insisting that ACRIYOF must pay them N250,000 before holding a press conference in our state. They said that is the tradition. I don’t know where on earth they bring all these draconian rules from.
“I have been involved with the activities of the Union for many years and I cannot imagine that the leadership of the Union in my state is a bunch of hustlers who are out not to protect the interest of the profession but to feather their own nests.”
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