THE ASSESSMENT OF NIGERIA PRESS COUNCIL AS A REGULATORY MECHANISM FOR NIGERIAN JOURNALISTS
In any academic pursuit all over the world, there must be situations and reason which could propel a research or project of this nature. This same thing applies to this project which was tentatively researched and written in order to help students who may want to inquire more on the role of the Nigerian Press Council as a regulatory machanism for the conduct of journalism practices in Nigeria. The Nigerian Press council though not performing quite to expectation in regulating journalism practices can also play the role of making sure that individual rights are not fringed upon by journalists in the course of covering analyzing and interpreting of issues as they affect the people. The study on this project topic was based upon the premise that the press perform a vital function in the society as it relates to educating, entertaining, informing of people in order to build a society where its citizens knows their right and enlightened to be able to meet up to the challenges of this modern world. There is as doubt this project handy as they go further in gaining more knowledge on this topic.
1,1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The world is a global village through information link of the media. A society without the media the is dead, that is to say that the media play a vital role and these roles include to educate, inform, entertain the public on the happenings in the society, to enlighten and to mobilize, etc. The media had played these vital roles creditably, especially in this inception of new political dispensation. In an attempt to carry out these functions to the masses, the media had made use of various medium of communication with development as its goal. The media in question are the electronic and print media. In electronic medium, we have the radio and television and in print sector, we have Newspaper and Magazine. In view of the above developments, all these media cannot function effectively without a regulatory body, which controls their activities and affairs as it relates to journalistic practices in Nigeria. This gave birth to the press council. Press council, therefore is an institution that is closely associated with the maintenance of the freedom of the Press and which also protects the liberty of individuals from being infringed upon by the media men.
The Nigeria Press Council was inaugurated on December 29, 1992 after a long chequered and bumpy journey. This journey began over 30 years ago when the need for self-regulatory mechanism in the practice of journalism in Nigeria gained currency among practitioners and public spirited individuals alike. Although the practice of journalism had been established long before some Nigeria other leading professions, it lacked any self-regulatory mechanism that would have won for it due recognition with attendant prestige of a body that had rendered loyal service to the nation. However, an endless acrimonious debate over the fun, scope and functions of the envisaged press council had bogged and delayed its inauguration.
The quest for a press council got an added momentum when the Federal Government set up the Ekineh commission on the future of Nigerian Press in the late 60’S. right from the then, media professionals began a more converted move for the establishment of a press council. According to the speech made by the then Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) Alhaji Lateef Jakande during the annual general meeting in Benin in 1972, he said, “I think we have talked so much about the press council that it would be appropriate for us at this meeting to take action. In this connection, the ball is in our court. The public wants a press council and the government is willing to legislate. So with this the Nigerian Press Council was established. On the other hand, the press council consist of Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ) Nigerian Institute of Public Rlations (NIPR), Nigeria Bar Association (nBA).
The council decree is aimed at promoting high professional standard for the Nigeria Media and to deal with complaints emanating from the members of the public about the conduct of the media and journalist in their professional capacity, or complaints from the media about the conduct of persons or organization towards the media. The council has the function of researching into contemporary media developments and engaging in updating media documents. In all ramifications, the council is charged with reviewing developments likely to restrict the supply, through the media of information of public interest and importance or likely to prevent media access to information and advising on measures necessary to prevent or remedy such development.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
These are many envisaging problems facing the press council today in the society and these problems are:
1. That working journalist should not allow a body composed or non-journalist to serve as arbiter between them and the government.
2. Because of the lopsided of appointment of non journalist into the council, working journalists felt that if there is any crisis, these non journalists will work against them.
3. The Nigerian Union of journalist prescribed a different standard for admission into the council while the council thinks otherwise.
4. The Nigerian Press Council is empowered to protect the right of Nigerian journalists in the lawful performance of their duties but working journalists said, it is a right/true that the body that projects their right is NUJ as a Professional body and a union.
5. The decree establishment the Nigerian Press council said that the body is autonomous. But how can a body which is established be autonomous, the federal government rejected this challenges to make sure that journalist regains the glory in the eyes of the people.
1.3 OBJECTIVE THE STUDY
We have embarked on the study to find out how this council function effectively in regulating the journalistic practices. To find out the responses of journalists towards the press council decree. To evaluate on the misconduct’s of journalist in the profession and how fare the council has gone in tackling these abnormalities.
After a critical appraisal and analysis of the Nigerian Press Council, a lot will be achieved in helping to place the council in its rightful position as a regulatory body and also help in shaping and championing its cause as it relates to protecting the Nigerian Journalist, as they go about gathering information and disseminating same to the overall citizens of the country.
Subsequently, the council after this analysis and write-up will seize to be a toothless bulldog as it concerns the profession but rather help bring out the flaws and things that hamper the journalist practices in Nigeria.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will assist the determined the level of assistance the Nigerian Press Council can give to the Nigeria Journalism in serving as a regulatory body of the press. This study will also be essential to help as asses on how far the Nigerian Union of Journalist has gone in ascertaining the code of conducts of journalists. Moreover, the significance of this piece cannot be over emphasized as it will help the Nigerian Press Council in going about its duties and also how to tackle some legal problems relating to individuals like libel, slanda, defamation etc. which the journalist used in one way or another. In addition, some other works only handles the issue of press council and their various functions to the journalist but this unique project goes further to add the issue of check and conduct of regularism of the behaviour of practicing journalists. The existing works on this top will be enhanced by the attributes of the Nigerian Press council especially as they go about acting as checks and balances of journalist practices in Nigerian as clearly detailed in this project.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following questions are formulated to guide this study.
1. Can the federal government, especially under this democratic setting help in improving the affairs of the Nigerian Press Council.
2. Can the Press council guarantee sustain the freedom/right of the working journalists?
3. Is the Nigerian Press council functional in piloting the affairs and freedom of journalist based on the established decree of 1978?
4. Should the Federal Government appoint non-journalist to oversee/check the actions of working journalists in the Press Council?
1.6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
The following hypothesis are well formulated for the purpose of this study.
HI: Numerous problems facing the Nigerian Press Council in its quest to check the conducts of the journalists hamper the council in its discharge of duties.
Ho” Numerous problems facing the Nigerian Press council in its quest to check the conducts of the journalists does not allow the council to perform/discharge its duties effectively.
H2: The Press Council guarantees and sustains the freedom and rights of the working journalists.
Ho: The Press council does not guarantee and sustain the freedom and right of the working Journalists.
H3: The federal government especially under this democratic setting has helped in improving the affairs of the Nigerian Press Council.
Ho: The Federal Government especially under this democratic setting has helped in improving the affairs of the Nigerian Press Council.
H4: The Nigerian Press Council is functional in piloting the affairs of the journalist based on the established decree of 1978.
Ho: The Nigerian Press Council is not functional in piloting the affairs of the journalists based on the established decree of 1978.
1.7 CONCEPTUAL AND OPERATIONAL DEFINITION
Assessment- conceptually, according to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, assessment is a carefully considered opinion or judgement.
Operationally, it is the act of assessing opinions.
Press Council – this is an institution that is associated with the maintenance of the freedom of the press and which also projects the liberty of individuals from being infringed upon by media men.
Operationally, it is an institution that oversees the operation of the pres.
Journalist – According to the dictionary, means a person whose profession is journalism. He/she does the work of gathering and dissemination of information to the society.
Operationally, journalist is another name for press men and women.
Journalism – this means that the work of collecting, writing, and publishing material in newspapers and magazines or on television or radio. In other words journalism is a profession, which sets standards of members.
It is assumed that the Nigeria Press council is performing its duty by acting as a regulatory body to journalistic practices in Nigeria. It is also assumed that the press on the other hand is adhering to the laws as stipulated by the Nigerian press council as laid down by decree 31 of 1990.
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