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This study is on violations of ethical journalism among media practitioners in Nigeria: causes, effects and solutions. The total population for the study is 200 members of NUJ, Abuja. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made production chairmen, secretaries, new members and old members were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies



  • Background of the study

Journalism entails a high degree of public trust. To earn and maintain this trust, it is morally imperative for every journalist and every news medium to observe the highest professional and ethical standard. In the exercise of these duties, a journalist should always have a healthy regard for the public interest. Journalism is information. ‘’It is communication and it is the events of the day distilled into few words, sound  or pictures, processed by the mechanics of communication to satisfy the human curiosity of the world that is always eager to know what is news Journalism may also be entertained or reassurance to people who are ‘’always eager to be comforted with the knowledge just like us’’. Basically, Journalism is news. ‘’It is the profession of gathering writing and editing news’’. A Journalist is therefore “someone whose training in Mass communication and mass media makes him or her witness and prophet of cultural, economic, media and ethical norms of the society. Truth is his watchword.”His primary role is to seek for and report events of public interest in an objective manner. He should publish only facts and never to suppress or falsify such facts to suit his own purpose. News must be represented to the public untainted by any personal bias or outside influence. Journalism is an editorial staff of a newspaper, radio, television, magazine, ministry of information, freelance or those that have branched into Public Relation Practice.  In Nigerian, the Nigeria Union of Journalism (NUJ) serves as the professional trade union umbrella shielding journalist apart from other associations which are subordinate to the NUJ. Journalism goes beyond mere writing; there are more complex, technical sides of the profession like News Gathering, News reporting, sub – editing, page planning and design, photography and cropping, etc. For the purpose of this study, we will settle with the definition as given by David Wainwright, which says, “Journalism is communication” as stated earlier. According to Frank Cadin, “Journalism is a highly responsible profession which calls for outstanding qualities of mind and character. Journalism can be described as a profession of someone who earns his regular means of livelihood by contributing to the making of a media organ either by writing, editing or newspaper production. In addition, it can be referred to as catalysis of the development of the society when talking about ethics. It is all about opinion, principle or standard set of laws. Ethics is simply the norms for conduct that distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. It is normal principles that govern a person’s or group behaviour. Journalistic ethics is the branch of philosophy which aids journalists in determining what is right to do and it is ultimately concerned with providing moral principles or norms for Journalistic actions. It set guideline, rules, norms or codes that will lead the journalist to be more humane as there have being abuse of the profession by the media. An Ethical code is without doubt a sine qua non in any profession. Journalism today faces an increasing need for critical reporting, accuracy fairness and objectivity. The Ethics of journalism is therefore, the companion of the practicing Journalist as well as the informed public in providing ethical guidelines by which practitioner can judge and be the judged. There are bodies which regulate and provide these ethics for this profession such as: New Nigerian Union of Journalists, Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), and Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigerians (NPAN) among others.  Media ownership is an excuse of practicing corrupt journalism by which Journalist are compelled to write, gather and publish information to suit the interest of the owner. A Government owned media will not allow the truth to be published concerning the government, that is, government mismanagement of office, wrong use of power, bribery and other forms of corruption cannot be investigated by a Journalist working under the government. Such media only reflect false positive image of the Government on the society. Same to private, Journalist is required to praise, fear and obey his boss. It allowed unskilled Journalist in the field and also encourages lack of professionalism. An example of lack of accuracy in journalism of Nigeria Media, is the recent killings and bombings by some religious or group (BOKO HARAM) especially in the Northern part of the country, different station with different information that is the place of event or number of victims involved or those that were suspected. In this case, the society is thrown into confusion of which media are to believe and trust for information and how concerned or effective the information is to every individual. Also an example of past event of violations of Ethical Journalism was the wrong published of Akinloye’s death who was the former Chairman of the defunct National Party of Nigeria on the front page of Vanguard Newspaper on April 21st 1998. Which turned out to be false after it was discovered that chief Akinloye was in London, Hale and Healthy and the newspaper was made to call and correct it earlier misinformation on Friday April 22nd 1998. Perhaps, the newspaper had called London in the first instance for verification of the information it would not have been published and of course, such error question the media credibility. As truth is the cornerstone of journalism, both journalists and media houses should strive diligently to ascertain the truth of every event.


Journalism practice in Nigeria is increasingly becoming difficult to situate within the mainstream of what journalism ought to be in the real sense of its professional practice as guided by its ethics. Today, there are internal and external factors that pose a great challenge to the practice of journalism as a profession. Arguably, studies have shown that the absence of a prescribed qualifying test has made it difficult to moderate the standard of journalism practice in Nigeria (Adaja, 2012; Oso, 2012). The self-censorship syndrome, inducement through brown envelope, pressure from individuals, groups and organizations, laws and administrative decisions, poor remuneration for journalists, absence of technical know-how amongst others, have all combined to make the journalism profession a mockery of its standard of practice. Certain inadequacies among the regulating bodies and non-professional filtration of yellow journalism practice and other unprofessional approaches to the profession have reduced and threatened the code of ethics upon which the journalism profession is expected to thrive. It is on this premise that this study sought to investigate violation of ethical journalism among media practitioners in Nigeria: causes, effects and solutions


The objectives of the study are;

  1. To ascertain the causes of violations of ethical journalism among media practitioners in Nigeria
  2. To examine the effect of violating the ethical journalism among media practitioners in Nigeria
  3. To ascertain whether ethical challenges and non-professionalism affects journalism practice in Nigeria
  4. To find the possible solution to the causes of violation of ethical journalism among media practitioners in Nigeria


For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

H0: there are no causes of violations of ethical journalism among media practitioners in Nigeria

H1: there are causes of violations of ethical journalism among media practitioners in Nigeria

H02: there is no effect of violating the ethical journalism among media practitioners in Nigeria

H2: there is effect of violating the ethical journalism among media practitioners in Nigeria


This study will give clear insight on violations of ethical journalism among media practitioners in Nigeria: causes, effects and solutions. The study will be beneficial to practitioners of journalism and the general public. It will also serve as a reference to other researchers that will embark on this topic.





The scope of the study covers violation of ethical journalism among media practitioners in Nigeria: causes, effects and solutions. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

  1. a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
  2. b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
  3. c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.


VIOLATION: The action of violating someone or something.

ETHICAL JOURNALISM: Journalism ethics and standards comprise principles of ethics and of good practice as applicable to the specific challenges faced by journalists.

MEDIA PRACTITIONER: Media relations and public relations practitioners should read as many magazines, journals, newspapers, and blogs as possible, as they relate to one’s practice. Organizations often compile what is known as a media list, or a list of possible media outlets who may be interested in an organization’s information.

Ethics: Set of concepts and principles that guide behaviours and conducts of a particular group of people (i.e. Journalists). They are also seen as motivation based on ideas of right and wrong

Journalism: The process of gathering, processing, and disseminating of information to mass heterogeneous audience through the mass media. It also entails reporting or photographing or editing news stories for the media.

Practice: A way of operation that is customary. It is the exercise of a profession (i.e. Journalism Profession).

Challenges: Demanding situations that hinder the operations of journalists based on their principles of behavior and conduct of operation.


This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study