MODERN JOURNALISM PRACTICE AND THE QUEST FOR PROFESSIONALISM AMONG JOU…

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background of the Study

          Journalism in Nigeria has its roots from the days of the struggle for independence from the British colonialists. The print media played an active role in the struggle for independence in Nigeria. Nationalists like Hebert Macaulay, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo among other set up newspapers and later on became great icons of leadership in the country, whose shoes have remained too big for the feet of modern crop of leaders in the continent to fit in. Hence, in the past, journalism in Nigeria was a profession that was credited to people of noble character. According to Adaja (2012), “It is pertinent to note that Nigerian Journalism took off much earlier than the proclamation or inauguration of the Nigerian nation. Evidently, Nigerian Journalism was not guided at inception by any law or regulations.”

          Early journalists in the country did not need to acquire journalism training to be able to write good stories. This foundation is still playing a role in defining the practice of journalism in the country, more than a century after the practice started in the country. Ownership and control play very strong roles in defining what becomes news in the country. Thus, a well written story no matter how well investigated it may be may not see the light of the day if it continuously steps on the toes of the government in power or the rich in society who constitute those that place advertisements in the newspaper or broadcast organization (Akabogu, 2005).

           Journalists are left at cross roads in the country from choosing between professionalism and survival. Amidst these confusion is the non-payment of salaries to journalists as at when due. This is despite the fact that the salaries are not even enough to take care of the basic needs of the journalists (Singer, 2005). It is common to hear the word, brown envelope (a subtle way of calling a bribe). Journalists can be spotted at the end of every media event, waiting on politicians and other rich newsmakers to give them brown envelope. In this regard, the brown envelope is seen as the motivation needed to get the story written. News makers who are in the habit of not giving brown envelopes stand the risk of being avoided like a plague by the journalists no matter how important the information they have may be. At the end of the day, the dent on the profession becomes enormous.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

          The point being made here is that the press has a moral duty and awesome responsibilities that go with such power and influence it  possesses. With such perceived power and influence, the media have fallen under more and more public scrutiny and sometimes public condemnation for what is generally considered unethical  practices. For example, there is hardly any Nigerian who is not familiar with the term „brown envelope‟ or junk journalism, two euphemisms for unethical conduct.

1.3     Purpose of the Study

     i.        To serve the political system by making information, discussion and consideration for public affairs generally accessible.

    ii.        To protect the rights of the individual by acting as watch dog over the government.

   iii.         To serve the economic system, for instance by bringing together buyers and sellers through the medium off advertising.

   iv.         To preserve financial autonomy in order not to become dependent on special interests and influences.

1.4     Research Questions

      i.        What has brought about the offer of rewards and gratifications into journalism profession?

     ii.        Has Nigeria journalist serve the watch dog role in the society today?

   iii.        How has corruption affected journalistic practice in the Nigerian press?

   iv.        Do journalist preserve financial autonomy in the state?

1.5     Significance of the Study

          The press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people.’ If these functions are any thing to go by, the press has a responsibility of professionalism and to uphold the ethics of the journalist profession to members of the society. Among others, truth, objectivity, accuracy, and balance are important values to be upheld in journalist practice.

1.6     Scope of the Study

          The area this study cover are the problems facing the Nigeria journalist like public scrutiny, public condemination, unethical practices, influence of government over the journalist and the issue of brown  envelop in Edo broadcasting station.


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