By Shola Adewunmi
The Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says the Federal Government is committed to ensuring the safety of journalists in their coverage of COVID-19 pandemic.
Mohammed spoke at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 press briefing on Thursday in Abuja, saying journalists are like frontline health workers, also on essential duty and must be protected.
The Minister’s comment was coming against the backdrop of the purported harassment of some journalists in Lagos by the police.
According to him: “I spoke with the Commissioner of Police in Lagos yesterday on the alleged harassment of some journalists on duty by the police.
“And, based on our conversation, he recognised that journalists are on essential duty and everything possible will be done to support and protect them in the course of their duties.”
The Minister said the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, assured him that he had intervened in the alleged harassment and had provided safety for journalists of Channels Television, The Nation Newspaper, among others.
Mohammed said Odumosu had also informed his men to desist from harassing journalists in line of their duties, stressing that any policeman found culpable would be sanctioned.
The minister quoted the police chief as saying: “Should my men continue to harass journalists in the course of their duties, they will be subjected to departmental protocol.”