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ROLE OF JOURNALISTS IN A DEMOCRATIC DISPENSATION
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Over the years, Nigeria has suffered a lot of intimidation, humiliation, harassment, imprisonment and frustration, under military leadership in an effort to fulfill their professional ethics. If well examined, history shows how Nigeria has suffered so much and also the effort made by Nigeria journalists to install and maintain a long lasting and genuine democracy.
According to Umechukwu (1973:11) Minere Amakri” the Port Harcourt correspondent for the observer newspaper was arrested tortured and detained after his head was shaved with a broken bottle for reporting on impending strike by teachers in Rivers State. The story appeared in the observer on Governor Alfred Diettepitts birthday.
In 1983, Raly Ekpu a reporter of the concord news paper was arrested and detained a day after Ekpu Published on article in which he said that the rate at which public building were being set on fire to cover up fraud, he would not be surprised if MET, which was reveling that fraud was on fire.
According to Ijendu Ihuaka a punch newspaper correspondent in Enugu, cases of harassment, threats and dismissal of journalists by government is an every day occurrence. He cited the example of Emmanuel one Ibadan correspondents who was asked to leave Enugu by the state governor he escaped death in the hands of assassins by diving grace of God.
Wali Olu, a journalist in Imo State was beaten because of a story that he reported to Radio Nigeria Enugu on 19 October 2009. on the issue of blind people in Imo State protesting against government regretting on them. He told Radio Nigeria that when the blind people were protesting that no government official attended to them.
Chief security of Imo State government house ordered his men to beat him up, after the story was aired on Radio Nigeria Network news.
Some of these cases show that the press is not actually free in Nigeria. But though there was social responsibility theory of the press or mass media as propounded by sieber Petterson and Schram (1963) provided a functional model for the analysis of the journalist role in political evolution and maintenance of a genuine democracy and they include the following:
Moreover, the social responsibility theory as articulated by the Hutchins commission of 1946 reports on a free and responsible press. It argues that people to all kinds information and opinion then to let the public decide for them.
Hutchins commission proffered five requirement designed to guarantee balance information from the press and it includes:
The above clearly state the function that the journalist will may in the democratic dispensation that we are in because,
Democracy is the right of the people to participation in the constitutional right to choose, the right to express themselves and the right to demand accountability from those entrusted with the authority of leadership and government.
However, through the above statement, some facts are noted of which this task will be achieved, but there should not be any basis on the part of the journalist because watchdog of the people and bark when the interest are threatened. And also he is the bridge that links the people with government and the intellectual mirror through which the people see themselves.
Really, journalist are see themselves upon as the only source to only lasting and enabling democracy through their mass communication but a lot of hindrance abound from the foreign, one easily observe that it has not been easy for the Nigeria pres and journalist generally because since inception in 1859, especially in the area of freedom it has recalled vividly that governor A.S Freeman Shuddered in Persuading the colonial Officer to strife the popular.
Iwe Irohm (the First Newspaper in Nigeria) through taxation in 1862, laying the complaint of policy (obi, 1985) No wonder Nigeria first prime minister, Tafawa Balewa had talked to the press and journalist as:
Suffering from colonial mentality and inferiority complex” He continued by saying that the government, which I head will not tolerate from you (the press) what British Administrators tolerated in this country is past years.
It is against the background of the scenario painted above that the John Tusa (1920) pointed that free is the mark of a confidence nation, an accurate press is that which can criticize temperately and government which reacts to such criticism are evidence of a civilized state.
However, when we consider today’s government, in Nigeria on would not be wrong to say that Nigeria centres her journalism practice on the social responsibility theory.
The above illustration the necessary task and function which falls on journalist in making sure that the ideas that facilitates is not comprised in any form.
So a good government must listen to the voice of the people which is the voice of reason and this can only be effectively done by the press. Any government that with hunts the press must have something to hide. Any government that has noting to hide has nothing to fear.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
It has been observed those Nigerian journalists are faced with different changes during this political dispensation especially the journalist in Enugu State metropolis.
The challenges therefore reflect on the three hundred practicing journalist in Enugu State in different media house that were humiliated, even assassinated because they were trying to perform their duty.
According to Ijendu Ihuaka a punch newspaper correspondent in Enugu cases of harassment, threats and dismissal of journalist by government is an everyday occurrence. He cited the example of Emmanuel Obe currently Ibadan correspondent who was asked to leave Enugu by the state government he escaped death in the hands of assassins by divine grace.
Communication is also vital aspect of the challenges as it has to do with sustaining Nigeria democracy especially assisting the democratic government in promoting the proper rise of power, human right, free and egalitarian society which will in turn entrance national development.
The freedom of information bill, which would allow journalist and citizens grater access to government information and provide protection for whistle blowers I the government is still pending though PDOP legislator that promised to pass the bill has stagnated in National Assembly.
Infact, this militates against the efforts of journalist in national and nation building as the life wire of the democratic government.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The study intends to find out the challenges facing Nigeria journalist in a democratic dispensation and efforts to make in order to have a successfully democracy.
iii. To examine and determine the contribution of journalist in the sustenance of National economy.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Communication as in every society is indispensable hence journalism remains a tool for better political involvement, national development, economic improvement and good administration.
Journalism which remain effective reliable way of communication but, still they are faced with numerous challenges both on the government censorship and the people question for said and sustainable democracy.
Finally, they study will carefully examine some of the problems, which will include man power needs in management, programme and information generation as well as adequate funding by the government.
Some of these needs include:
iii. Appreciating the effort and contribution of various journalism in building the present Nigerian.
This is very vital for heroes and pioneers of journalist work, which have contributed immensely in bringing about the Nigeria democracy.
Those to benefit from this study include
In this study, it can also be assumed that journalist are making conscious effort to sustain the present democracy through their contributions of keeping records and making further inquires into the existing system of government. This will certainly promote democracy in the present democratic dispensation in Nigeria.
1.7 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The under-listed research question were asked in the study and attempted would be made to answer the questions.
H0: Journalist encounter problem in their effort at sustaining democracy the present democratic dispensation.
Hi: Journalist does not encounter problems in their effort
at sustaining democracy.
H2: Nigeria journalist makes concerted effort to sustain
Nigerians present democracy.
H0: Nigeria journalists do not make concerted effort to
sustain Nigerians present democracy
H3: Poor management will not likely affect the performance at journalist in Nigeria
H0: Poor management will likely affect the performance of journalist in Nigeria
H4: Journalist are given enough freedom to perform their job.
H0: Journalist are not given enough freedom to reform their job.
H5: Poor communication will likely affect the performance of journalist in Nigeria
H0: Poor communication will not likely affect the performance of journalist in Nigeria
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
In this area, certain key concepts are defined conceptually and operationally.
A: CONCEPTUAL DEFINITION
B: OPERATIONAL DEFINITION
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