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HAZARDS OF JOURNALISM PRACTICE IN NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT: The objective of this research was to evaluate the hazards of journalism practice in Nigeria with a particular focus on Lagos State Television (LTV). Journalism is one of the professions that prone journalists to various hazards, from accident to killing, kidnapping, and rapping to mention but a few. This study was anchored on Authoritarian Media Theory. A cross-sectional survey research method was used and questionnaires were administered to respondents to elicit responses from respondents. Respondents were purposively selected. The data were analyzed in frequency and percentage method while the data were presented with the aid of tables. The study finds out that killing, threats, and kidnapping are the major hazards to journalism practices in Nigeria. It was therefore recommended that further studies on this research should be extended to the problems and prospects of journalism and the role of broadcast media in preventing media hazards.


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study

            There is no doubt that the press shapes the society. Most journalists are aware of this, so they are determined even to the extent of sacrificing their lives, to give society what it desires and needs (Isamuko, 2011). Meanwhile, the reporter who is scampering to meet a politician who has just alighted from an airplane; the reporter who is on a wired boat sailing into a remote mangrove to find out the extent of damage flood has wrecked in an area is trying to satisfy the society by informing the members of the society on what is happening around them, this and many more,. The function of news gathering and news dissemination has not been a rosy one for journalists, from the inception of journalism and newspaper publication in Nigeria (Isamuko, 2011).

             Hence, there has been a cat-and-mouse relationship between the press, society, organizations, politicians, and governments of all ages, whether military or civilian, except when the press allows itself to be cajoled, used, and manipulated by the government or personal interest of the so-called ‘big power” to suit its whims and caprices.

           However, hazard in the journalism sphere refers to the various dangers, and challenges facing journalists, reporters, newscasters, cameramen, and others who are working in the media organization are exposed to during the course of their duties. Similarly, press or media practitioners are to injure, kill, kidnapping, rape, assault, beating, threaten, destruction of their property and a host of others (Isamuko, 2011).

            Without a doubt, journalism plays a crucial role in upholding democracy by providing citizens with accurate information and holding those in power accountable. However, journalists in Nigeria face numerous hazards while carrying out their professional duties. This study explores shed light on the perils encountered by journalists in Nigeria.

            It should be noted that journalists in Nigeria often encounter threats and physical attacks, especially when reporting on sensitive issues such as corruption, human rights violations, or political unrest and particularly during elections. These threats come from various sources, including government officials, criminal elements, and powerful individuals with vested interests (International Press Institute, 2021). For instance, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported that Nigeria was the deadliest country for journalists in Africa in 2020, with at least four journalists killed (CPJ, 2021). for instance over 100 journalists have been reported dead in the war between Isreal and Gaza within 2 months Committee to Protect Journalists (2023).

            Nigerian journalists frequently face legal restrictions and harassment, impeding their ability to report freely. The Nigerian government has utilized laws such as the Cybercrime Act and the Terrorism Prevention Act to target journalists and curtail their activities (Reporters Without Borders, 2021). These laws have been misused to silence critical voices and stifle press freedom.

            Journalists in Nigeria are also at risk of abductions and kidnappings, often carried out by criminal gangs or militant groups. These incidents are driven by factors such as political unrest, territorial disputes, or ideological differences. In some cases, journalists have been held captive for extended periods, causing significant physical and psychological harm (Human Rights Watch, 2020).

            One of the major challenges faced by journalists in Nigeria is the prevailing culture of impunity. Perpetrators of violence against journalists often go unpunished, leading to a climate of fear and self-censorship among media professionals (Amnesty International, 2021). The lack of accountability for attacks on journalists further perpetuates the cycle of violence.

            Economic pressures and media ownership also pose hazards for journalists in Nigeria. Many media organizations are controlled by powerful individuals or corporations with vested interests, leading to compromised editorial independence. Journalists often face pressure to censor or manipulate information to suit the owners’ agenda, undermining the public’s right to unbiased reporting (Media Foundation for West Africa, 2021).

            By and large, the hazards faced by journalists in Nigeria, including threats and attacks, legal restrictions, abductions, impunity, and economic pressures, present significant challenges to press freedom and democratic values. It is imperative for the Nigerian government, civil society organizations, and the international community to take collective action to ensure the safety and protection of journalists, uphold press freedom, and safeguard democracy in Nigeria.

        In the history of media, most of these hazards emanated from the following source: Government hostility, sinister attack, the problem of statement denial, and difficulties in separating truth from falsehood. unfriendly and hostile people, problems of publishers’ interest, language barrier prone to a road accident, lack of rest, etc (Ewuola, 2005).

            Olayinka (2015) offers the following as prospects to journalism that have enhanced the gathering, editing, and distribution of media content to the public via (1) the use of computers, the internet, and Smartphone, for news gathering (2) ICT for news distribution e.g teleprompter, mobile app (3) Freedom of Information law (4) Feedback e.g Social media, email, SMS, Skype (5) Use of website/youtube. To this end, the research wants to x-ray some of the hazards of journalism and some remedies or ways out especially as the new Freedom of Information Law has become law in Nigeria and in emerging technology.  

1.2       Statement of the Problem

            There has been a cat-and-mouse relationship between the press, society, organizations, politicians, secret bodies, kidnappers, terrorists, vendors, and governments of all ages, whether military or civilian, except when the press allows itself to be cajoled, used, and manipulated by the government or personal interest of the so-called ‘big power” to suit its whims and caprices.

            Journalists are hunters that is been hunted especially in Nigeria and third-world countries, this assertion stressed that journalists are hunting for information, secrets, facts, figures, and ideas to be shared with the public while some individuals, governments, agents, organizations, groups e.t.c want their information, activities remain hiding this make press to become their target and enemy.

            However, the work of journalists placed them at the center of society because they are regarded as the fourth estate of the realm as they gather and disseminate information from government, groups, and individuals. Hence, the research x-ray of some of the hazards facing journalists and other media practitioners in the course of the daily assignment highlights some remedies or ways out especially as the new Freedom of Information Law has become law in Nigeria.

1.3       Objectives of the Study

            The basic objective of this study is to find out the hazards facing journalists’ effectiveness and solutions in Nigeria. Others are: 

  1. To examine some of the hazards facing journalists in Nigeria, particularly in LTV.
  2. To examine the influence of hazards on the performance of journalists in LTV.

1.4       Research Questions

            Below are some of the research questions drawn from the statement of the problem with the view to provide answers to some issues begging for answers.

  1. Is there any hazard facing journalism practice in Nigeria?
  2. Do media hazards have effects on the performance of journalists in Nigeria?

1.5       Significance of the Study

            The study on the hazards of journalism practice in Nigeria is of significant importance due to several reasons. Nigeria, like many other countries, faces specific challenges and risks associated with the field of journalism. Understanding these hazards and their implications is crucial for various stakeholders, including journalists, media organizations, policymakers, and the general public. Here are some key points highlighting the significance of this study:

Journalists’ safety and well-being: Journalism in Nigeria often exposes journalists to a range of hazards, including physical violence, harassment, intimidation, and threats. Investigating and documenting these hazards can contribute to raising awareness about the risks journalists face and highlight the importance of ensuring their safety and well-being.

Freedom of the press: A robust and independent media is a cornerstone of democracy. By examining the hazards faced by journalists, this study sheds light on the challenges that can hinder press freedom in Nigeria. It provides insights into the factors that restrict journalists’ ability to report objectively, investigate important issues, and hold power accountable.

Implications for media professionalism: The hazards of journalism practice can impact the professionalism of journalists. Fear of reprisals or violence may lead to self-censorship, compromising the quality and integrity of news reporting. Understanding these implications can help develop strategies to enhance media professionalism and ethical standards.

Policy formulation: The study can inform policymakers and regulatory bodies about the hazards journalists face, leading to the formulation of policies and mechanisms that safeguard journalists’ rights and provide them with adequate protection. Such policies can include creating legal frameworks, establishing safety protocols, and offering support mechanisms for journalists facing threats.

Public awareness and advocacy: Research on the hazards of journalism practice in Nigeria can contribute to raising public awareness about the challenges faced by journalists. This awareness can foster a more informed and supportive public attitude towards journalism, encouraging citizens to value press freedom, condemn attacks on journalists, and advocate for their protection.

International comparisons and collaboration: Comparative studies on journalism hazards across different countries can help identify global trends, best practices, and challenges specific to Nigeria. This comparative perspective can facilitate international collaborations, knowledge sharing, and capacity-building efforts aimed at improving safety conditions for journalists.

1.6       Scope of the Study

            The study which investigated the hazards of journalism practice in Nigeria was narrowed in scope to LTV. Hence, the geographical location of this study is Lagos. The choice of Lagos Television (LTV) is due to its proximity to the researcher, inadequate time, funds, and other considerable logistics. To this end, LTV is selected to represent all mass media in Nigeria while the demographic of staff and management of LTV was considered to access the number of staff, educational level, qualification, working experience, sex, marital status, and many more before the administration of the research tool. Nevertheless, the finding of the research project would be well generalized.

1.7       Operational Definition of Terms

Hazards: These refer to the dangers or risks faced by workers of Tell magazine in carrying out their activities.

LTV: This is the acronym of the Lagos State Television

Prospect: This refers to some of the factors that encourage the practice of journalism in Nigeria such as the new passage of the freedom of information passed some three years ago and ICTs.

Journalists: These are the reporters, editors, and staff that are saddled with news, current affair, and related programmes in Lagos State Television (LTV)


    HAZARDS OF JOURNALISM PRACTICE IN NIGERIA


PROJECT DETAILS:

Format = MS Word, Price = ₦4000, Chapter = 1-5, Pages = 69, References = Yes, Questionnaire =Yes, Table of Contents = Yes and Abstract = Yes


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