The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has lent its voice to the calls for an urgent Federal Government’s financial intervention to save the media from permanent shutdown amid COVID-19 pandemic.
The editors appealed for release of funds for the media houses to cushion the effects of COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant lockdown.
Persecondnewsrecalls that the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) and Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) had strongly appealed to the Federal Government for financial intervention for the industry.
Both Mr Femi Adesina and Malam Garba Shehu, President Muhammadu Buhari’s media aides had served as president of the Guild.
The Guild made the appeal at its Standing Committee meeting held at Editors’ House, Ikeja, via Zoom.
Noting that the lockdown had led to many media being unable to pay salaries and down-sizing, the NGE said a timely bail-out would revive the industry including print, electronic and new media.
According to the editors, using public funds to finance private sector operations to save them from bankruptcy and total eclipse is not new and has been adopted in other jurisdictions.
The Guild cited the case of the United States Government which used public funds to save the US automobile industry, the banking sector and others from insolvency during the financial crisis of 2008 and currently the media in the 2020 $2 trillion bailout for companies amid the Covid-19 scourge.
It premised its request for financial intervention on the ground that media services are “essential services”, hence “they deserve to be so treated like other essential services that played key roles on the frontline in the fight against Covid-19”.
“Government intervention at this point is imperative to ensure that the media continues to discharge their constitutional duties.
“The survival of the media is a sine qua non for the survival of democracy,” the NGE said.