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Ethics in journalism is the symbols of morals that journalists are supposed to uphold. These consist of a commitment to revealing the truth objectivity without being subjective by self-interest; maintaining the privacy of sources and attributing what is said to the appropriate source. This paper focuses on examining journalism ethics in Nigerian news media, how Nigerian journalists report issues concerning different region; does Nigerian journalist abide by the Code of Ethics. The research examined how Nigerian journalists carry out their duties. The study used Critical Discourse Analyses (CDA) as methodology. The research begins with brief introduction, background of Nigeria, Nigerian media structure at a glance, discussing ethical concept as well as ethical theories. The research figures out that, Nigerian journalists in one way or the other violated code of ethics of the profession.


Chapter One

1.3 Objectives of The Study

  1. To examine the various media ethics that apply to news reporting.
  2. To determine the role media ethics plays on news reporting.
  3. To determine if these ethics are being followed by contemporary journalists.




3.0 Introduction

In order to analyze the meaning and violation of journalism ethics in Nigeria, the research proposes to use discourse analysis as research method. Teun van Dijk defined discourse analysis as an analytical research that “primarily studies the way social power abuse, dominance, and inequality are enacted, reproduced, and resisted by text and talk in the social and political context” (Van Dijik, 2001). As such, the central aim of discourse analysis is to understand, expose, and ultimately resist social inequality.The concept of discourse analysis has become vague, either meaning almost nothing, or being used with more precise, but rather different, meanings in different contexts. But, in many cases, underlying the word „discourse‟ is the general idea that language is structured according to different patterns that people‟s utterances follow when they take part in different domains of social life, familiar examples being „medical discourse‟ and „political discourse‟.

„Discourse analysis‟ is the analysis of these patterns (Jorgensen and Phillips, 2002: 2-16).



5.1 Conclusion

This study was meant to explore the Journalism ethics in Nigerian news media. discourse analysis was used as yardstick. Major finding of this research revealed that; Nigerian journalists are not obeyed the codes; journalists are expecting to be moral-crusaders but some time they are doing otherwise. As the research exposed the reason behind this, is the complex nature of the Nigerian state. Nigeria has over two hundred and fifty ethnic group and religions. Journalist from opposite part of the country opposed each other in their publications. According to Oso, the factors that can lead to unethical practices in Nigeria are: poor technical knowledge, conflict of interests, ownership pattern and control, pressure of the market, poor pay, weak professional regulation, and loose organizational policies and control (Oso, 2007: 150). These factors that lead to unethical in journalism field is not only experienced in Nigeria, the problem is similar in many third world countries. Ethics in the media is, at its essence, about duty. It comes with concepts of freedom and responsibility. It comprises a set of principles and rules determined by members of the profession, preferably in cooperation with public opinion, to allow most if not all of the media to perform a better service. Unethical conduct, immorality or negative values are devoid of ethical benchmarks. They are dangerous social evils. They can be damaging to the society, to the extent of leading to a failed state. And, like all forms of things that are wrong, the dangers are multifaceted and some of them concrete enough (Pate, 2013). In light with this, for any society that want to develop code of ethics need to be apply; media has a vital role to play on this. There is need for the other researchers to explore Nigerian code in broadcast media houses because it‟s the major source of information for Nigerians, not only exploring the problem but to provide possible solutions to salvage the situation.


5.2 Recommendations

Ethics are set in place for a reason and having considered the findings, it clearly stands out that they are not equally applied and not all of them are adhered to. Having carefully considered the findings, these are the recommendations that can be adopted.

  • Disciplinary measures- clearly, there are inadequate punitive actions that are being taken against offenders. That is why many journalists find it so easy to ignore certain rules and regulations and work on their own terms. When journalists were assessed on action that is taken should one broadcast against set ethics, the majority of them spoke about getting their licences revoked, being sued or facing disciplinary hearing. This is clearly inadequate. Despite the fact that many broadcast radio stations have been taken to court, many of them still do the same things they got punished for. Media ethics should be applied categorically; no one should be named and shamed before he or she is found guilty. Defaming a person should be a serious criminal offence. Once a person’s name is publicly dragged through the mud, it becomes very hard for society to trust that person and accept them back into the community and sometimes, the family will also suffer the consequences. There has to be a law that protects anyone who has not yet been found guilty. In this way, people’s reputation would be saved.
  • The findings of this study reveal that most of the broadcasted stories are based on a certain categorical level; however, looking at the findings, it does not look like there is much understanding of the effects that crime news can have on the public. The portrayal of violent crime often entices the younger generation who often find pleasure in what they see. The media personnel need to be educated on contemporary ethical issues. Even though media ethics disapproving of violence have been preached many a time through the NBC, the BCCSN and even the Nigerian Constitution, the country still experiences many accounts of violence including violent protests. Media still need to be made aware of the psychological damage that can occur. This can be done through developing various educational programmes. These programmes can showcase real individuals who have been affected and the challenges and difficulties they now face.


In light of the above, the problems caused by failure to adhere to media ethics will be minimised if these recommendations are taken on board.


  • Akinfeleye, (2003), Fourth Estate of the Realm or Fourth Estate of the Wreck: Imperative of Social Responsibility of the press” Lagos: Lagos press
  • Akinfeleye, (2008). “Contemporary issues in mass media for development and national security” Lagos: Matthouse Press Limited
  • Aku, “The Nigerian media and Nigerian image” retrieved 18th Nov.2013 from www.gamji.com
  • Black, J. And Roberts, C. (2011), “Doing ethics in media: theories and practical applications” New York: Routledge.
  • Briggs, And Burke, P. (2005), “A Social History of the Media: From Gutenbeerg to the internet” Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Brown, (2011) “Journalism Ethics: A casebook of professional conduct for new media 4th edition” US: Marion street press.
  • Dare, And Tagbo, E. (2010) “Nigeria” retrieved 20th November, 2016 from www.freedomhouse.org
  • Dominick, R. (1998) “The Dynamics of Mass Communication 6th edition” Boston: McGraw- Hill Companies.
  • Frost, (2011).” Journalism ethics and regulation” London: Pearson.
  • Iggers, (1999). “Good news bad news: journalism ethics and the public Interest” United State: West view press
  • Ike, (2005). “Dictionary of mass communication” Benin: El damak.
  • Jorgensen, and Phillips, L. (2002). “Discourse analysis as theory and method” London: Sage publication.


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