Journalism is the act of gathering, processing and dissemination of news and other editorial pieces to the wide audience using appropriate channels of mass communication such as radio, television, newspaper and so on. Journalism (mass media) constitutes a very potent institution in any society. Every sphere of human endeavor, therefore, needs the mass media for greater survival.
Nsikan (2009) in Udoakah (2001) posits that news is the main content of the mass media, especially news media and that the journalists are the brain behind the news. Journalism practice should be well guided in order to bring about a virile and cohesive society. Journalism is an institution in which its effect cut across all the facets of the society. It is a major force that stimulates national, international, socio-economic and global understanding. Journalism, like every other professional is usually guided by a set of laws and ethics for professional conduct and public acceptance.
It is imperative for the journalists and the entire news production team to gather, package and disseminate news in a manner that will be appealing to the audience, yet in full compliance with the ethical and legal imperatives of the profession. Knowing the indispensible role of journalism in any society, it becomes pertinent for journalists to be well guided by the professional ethics and law governing their job (Nsikan, 2009).
Media ethics is one of the essential aspects of mass media processes because news is considered to be sacred and to maintain that sacredness, the news gathering, processing and dissemination is guided with several codes of ethics. For the purpose of this research, the main ethics considered include but not limited to objectivism, accuracy, fairness, decency, violence, children, editorial independence and social responsibility among others especially as applicable to mass media operations in Enugu state.
Going by the ARTICLE 7 and 8 of the Nigeria Union of Journalists constitution, it is obvious that the Union has a professional code and ethics that guides their operations. The code of ethics of NUJ are explained under fifteen (15) subheading include the following: Editorial Independence, Accuracy and Fairness, Privacy, Privilege/Non-Disclosure, Decency Discrimination, Reward and Gratification, Violence, Children, Access to Information, Public Interest, Social Responsibility, Plagiarism, Press Freedom and Responsibility and Copyright (NPC, 2018).