Chief Executive Officer of Safety Consultants and Solutions Provider (SCSP), Mrs. Antonia Beri, has said that emotional and mental health of journalists should be the first priority before considering their physical safety. Beri, who was one of the guest speakers at the 2019 World Day of Safety of Journalists organised by Safety and Watch Organisation in Lagos state, said most journalists complain about the physical challenges they encounter when covering an event without considering the perpetual mental hazard affecting them.
According to her, most journalists suffer mental stress, which are not obvious. For example, she stated that a journalist that sees a colleague suddenly fall when covering a riot or protest, as a result of stray bullet, will be mentally sick for a while until he gets well from the emotional shock. “Owners of media houses should provide safety for journalists in all ramifications,” she said. The Chief Executive Officer of Occupational Health and Safety Managers (OHSM), Mr. Ehi Iden, said some media houses have several equipment but minimal manpower.
“An organisation where a journalist works as a news reporter, handler of camera and posting story on-line. This process where one person oversees many positions could lead to mental irregularity. He who works from 8 am today to 7 am the next day may be compensated but he is dying gradually,” he said. A senior lecturer University of Lagos, Dr. Suraj Adekunle, said journalists should stop working for politicians but see themselves as a mirror to the society, noting that they could only send the right information to the society if they are not taking the government as their friends.