By Chinyere Nwachukwu
Renowned Professor of Mass Communication, Ralph Akinfeleye, has appealed to owners of media houses in Nigeria to prioritise their workers’ welfare to enhance productivity.
Akinfeleye, Head of Multimedia Section, University of Lagos, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.
According to him, non-payment of some media workers’ salaries has become worrisome.
Akinfeleye, a former Head of Department of Mass communication, University of Lagos, said that failure to pay workers as and when due retarded an organisation’s growth.
“We must be fair at all times, especially when it has to do with meeting the needs of workers as regards wages.
“For there to be maximum output in any organisation, their must be a work-friendly environment. Workers must be happy to be able to deliver.
“We have heard of situations where some workers in some media organisations go for months without salaries.
“This practice must be discouraged; even the holy book says that a labourer deserves his wages,” he said.
Akinfeleye called on the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria and the Nigerian Guild of Editors to do more to protect the interest of their members.
The media professional said that some media organisations had lost awards because of unhealthy work ethics and poor staff welfare which did not encourage professionalism.
He expressed satisfaction at local content development, especially by radio stations, urging that television stations should raise the bar on the issue.
According to the media expert, there is absence of content pluralism particularly in government-owned television stations though the country had achieved media ownership pluralism.
He, however, said that in spite of the ownership pluralism, there was still lack of diversity that should hold the attention of target audience.
“That is in terms of content relevance and in terms of dealing with the values of Nigeria and its cultural peculiarities.
“It is indeed good that NAN has come out now to do more feature writing; it remains the only active news agency in the sub region.
“But having said this, I think the board of NAN should see the need to put more emphasis on professionalism and how to take the agency to the next level,” he said.
On his recent merit award by the U.S. Government Exchange Alumni Association, Nigeria Chapter, the professor said: “I feel happy not just because it is from this alumni association, but that I was the only one singled out to get the award from the media.
“Hard work pays. You may not know that people are watching as you do those things you have passion for.”
NAN reports that the award was in recognition of his outstanding performance in promoting effective journalism in Nigeria.
Akinfeleye will also be honoured with long service award during the University of Lagos convocation in January 2019.