The former State Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ), Barr. Ipalibo Karibi-Botoye has observed that the journalism profession in the state is dying and appealed to governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike to intervene urgently to halt the rot.
Speaking at the sideline of the 15th Anniversary celebration of the National Network Newspaper in Port Harcourt recently, he made it clear that unlike what the situation was some ten (10) years back, the professional practice in the state currently is deteriorating.
According to the NUJ former chairman, “Journalists are not put into public life and our media houses are still the same as we left it. Tide Newspapers publication is not circulated well and does not print up to 200,000. Radio Rivers station on its own is not coming up as it ought to be,” he lamented.
Barr. Kabiri-Botoye also observed that the FM arm of the state radio appears to have been dead while the RSTV is yet to go digital despite government promises these past years.
He stated further that development ought to have been done by a cautious state policy to develop the media houses making it easier for practicing journalists to be appointed into boards of parastatals in the state.
He recalled that during his days as the Editor-in-Chief of the Tide Newspapers, that he Dr. A. A. Amachree, Dr. Fortune Iruene and others were called upon to develop the course of the Mass Communication department of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) now Rivers State University (RSU) under Prof. Fubara. “Since then nothing has been done again,” he stated.
He lamented further that those appointed Commissioners in charge of Information seem not to have the interest of journalists at heart but only working for their selfish interest.
“What have they dropped for the journalism profession, nothing. The profession itself is being infiltrated by non-professionals who did not study Mass Communication and without core interest in journalism in their heart and nobody cares.”
Barr. Karibi-Botoye also score low the caliber of the union's leadership who he noted appeared not to protect the interest of the journalism profession.
He recalled, for instance how in their time, they engaged in media war with their old Imo State counterparts in order to protect the interest of Rivers State.
He called for an improved news content and better funding for investigation of stories as well as provision of scholarship scheme to competent and qualified candidates by government in order to upgrade the status of journalism in the state.