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The Delta Online Publishers’ Forum (DOPF) has decried threat to the life of one of its members, Mr. Albert Ograka, over a story he published in his website, blanknewsonline.com.
The Forum in a statement signed by its Secretary, Mr. Shedrack Onitsha called on the officials of the Delta state government to strengthen their personal relationship with journalists to avoid misgivings that are capable of jeopardizing the Forum’s corporate mutual relationship with the government.
The statement reads: “The Delta Online Publishers Forum (DOPF) has been briefed of alleged threat to life of one of its members, Mr. Albert Ograka, Publisher of www.blanknewsonline.com, an online news website based in the state, following a report published in the medium, which bothers on alleged fraud in State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), an agency of the Delta state government.
“DOPF was briefed by Ograka who was carrying out his lawful duties that agents and officials of the Delta State Government issued threat to his life over the said report.
“Our members have been going about their duties of bridging the gap between the government and the people and also holding the government accountable to the people responsibly, therefore, we wouldn’t condole any attempt to hound us from this sacred responsibility.
“If as was told statutory anti corruption agency who were reported to have carry out the said arrest had not denied the said report since it was published, then we make bold to condemned the idea of bullying, harassing, intimidating and threatening journalists who are doing their legitimate business from agents of Delta state government that has enjoyed robust media coverage from our members.
“We had expected officials of the state government to, in the first instance with the level of cooperation given to this government by DOPF, reach out to its leadership instead of resorting to direct threat as we have been briefed about by our member. This we think is the right thing to do.
“However, we want to give the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the governor, Mr. Charles Ehiedu Aniagwu who was alleged to have called and requested that the said report be taken down or would launch security agents against our member the benefit of the doubt to state his direct reaction to the report that has warranted this threat to life alarm.
“We called on the CPS to the Delta state governor, Mr. Charles Ehiedu Aniagwu, the Executive Assistant to the governor, Directorate of Orientation, Delta state, Mr. Eugene Uzum, who were alleged to have made the threat phone calls to strengthened their personal relationship with journalists to avoid misgiving of this nature capable of jeopardizing our corporate mutual relationship with the government.
“While calling on our members to ensure that every of their publications are within the ethic of the journalism profession, we also called on other agents of the government who want to leverage on the said incident to veer their anger on journalists and our members to trend carefully because DOPF wouldn’t stand against itself for any reason for any overzealous government official. We therefore by this statement put members of the public on notice to know who to hold responsible in case any harm come near Mr. Albert Ograka and his family.”