The main purpose of this work is to Evaluation of Adherence of Journalists on the Codes of Journalism Practice in Enugu State. Social responsibility and Socialization theories served as the theoretical framework of the study. A census of 210 registered journalists in Enugu State was studied. The researcher adopted a survey method using questionnaires as instrument for data collection. This study asked among other questions; to what extent do the practice of Enugu based journalists corresponds with the Nigerian code for professional journalism practice in Nigeria. The findings of the study revealed that 54.8% is the awareness, and the knowledge level was not quite above the average level and all of the Nigerian codes for professional journalism were adhered to expect that of the code for Discrimination. it was recommended that journalists should consider discrimination (balance and fairness) as one of the key codes for journalism profession and adhere to it.

Key words: Media, Journalism, Practice, Code, Ethics


Over the years, professional journalism practice has attracted different debates from different quarters on what true professionalism should be. Nolan (2008) notes that the debate about professionalism in journalism practice may appear rather bewildering but it has remained the central issue of debate within and outside the academia. The debate itself rests on the series of contradictory problems and different assumptions about professionalism in journalism practice.

The difference in assumption on the issue of professionalism may not be unconnected to the fact that journalism practice houses both trained and untrained personnel’s’. In the words of Wilson (2011), journalism as widely practiced profession in the modern world has attracted both trained and untrained hands, which mingle at the task of reporting events in the society. For this singular reason Wilson noted that the journalism   profession has fallen into doubts of its authenticity as a profession

In regards to the fallen authenticity of the journalism profession in the views of the public eye, Boyd-Barrett (2010) argues that this shortcoming in journalism “could weaken the possibility of public recognition of the occupation as a profession, or indeed as an occupation of high status. A recent survey of radio journalist working in the two radio stations in Enugu Nigeria shows that only 25% of the journalists possessed degrees or diplomas in Journalism/Mass Communication at initial employment.

The practice of professional journalism has been shaped and reshaped, interpreted and misinterpreted, defined and explained by many. As a result of the diversity in the practice of journalism in Nigeria, professionalism in journalism has been affected to a very large extent, and as such, journalism practice in Nigeria has raised a lot of questions as to the proprietary of referring to it as a profession. In respect to journalism as a profession, Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ) has set out to squarely preserve professionals in the field of journalism in Nigeria (NUJ, 2011). The professionals in this case are those who have acquired the nitty-gritty of the profession and are fully aware of the code of conducts that govern the affairs of those involved in the profession.

The Nigeria Media System had to undergo various changes, surmounted different obstacles and challenges to get to where it is today and set a standard of professionalism in journalism practice. As a result of the afore mentioned under gone situations, Nigeria Media System has as  much as possible aimed and worked towards Maintaining a close to perfect standard system.

However, another issue that led to the emergence of professional journalism practice in Nigeria is the fact that reports on the happenings around us far supersede the manifest content of traditional mass media. This simply means that most events occur without being reported either because there is no conventional journalist on site or none assigned to cover such beat.  Burkholder (2010) .

Absence of conventional journalist not only affects professionalism in journalism practice but has created a room for poor production of information to the public. According to Ekpu( 1982,p.7) “some of the stories published in the media looked “more like the products of a the fertile imagination of a hack writers from the party headquarters than stories hammered out in a modern newsroom”. Unfortunately, sometimes there is usually not the opportunity for journalist to capture news. Like in case of the London underground bombed on July 7, 2005, photos of the event were published on websites and blogs, and made their way to the mainstream media. It was the people with camera cell phones that captured the images, not reporters. That is say that more often than not, when major news happens and there is no conventional journalist around to report it the output of the report possibly comes out as mess. By way of interviews and records of the event, reporters are able to re-create it for the morning paper.

Journalism, like other professions, has direct impact on the citizenry and the society at large. Practitioners are expected to be guided by a code of conduct which members are expected to comply with strictly, and to be enforced by a body acceptable to all the stakeholders as aforementioned in the previous fourth paragraph. Journalist   seemed to have been found wanting both in expertise and credibility. These inadequacies, according to Uyo (1982, p.8) “emanate from lack of professionalism on the part of Nigerian Journalists”.

The lack of professionalism has still remained a pressing issue in journalism practice in Nigeria despite the modification done to create room for a change. Public criticism of Nigeria tends to centre on those who work in these media, their skills and training, their values, attitudes and degree of social responsibility. Such criticism was greatest between 1978 and 1983 when media practitioners turned themselves into putty in the hands of second Republic Politicians. Journalist were hired and fired like casual laborers; editorial seats, like musical chairs, rotated mostly among party loyalists. So debased did journalism become that politicians themselves, concerned media practitioners and educators, as well as lay men and women expressed concern about the journalism practice in Nigeria and the integrity of the entire profession.

The loose definition of the criteria for membership has made the profession an all-comers-affair. Also, the absence of a prescribed qualifying test has made it difficult to moderate the standard of journalism practice in Nigeria .Ugboajah(1983) opined that the trouble could be that journalism itself is an indeterminate occupation ,which is inadequately professionalized.

To restore credibility to the profession, the gap between school curricula and journalism practice must be bridged. A revisit to the existing code of conduct to explicitly state those who can practice journalism in Nigeria is necessary. Also, an acceptable remuneration package comparable with other professions must be worked out .In what Benneth and Hokenstad (1976, p.24) described as the “first systematic statement regarding the criteria for a profession”. Flexner (1915, p.87) sets out six distinctive criteria of a profession which include that a profession is (1) based on intellectual activity, (2) requires from its members the possession of a considerable amount of knowledge and learning, (3) has definite and practical purposes, (4) has certain techniques which can be communicated, (5) has an effective self-organization and (6) motivated by a desire to work for the welfare of society.

It is noteworthy that the integrity of the media has hardly ever been on the line when issues of national importance are involved .challenges come mainly when issues revolving around individuals or group and, at that point, the media, in itself entirely, is overwhelmingly castigated over the perceived offence or professional misconduct of few practitioners.

It is as a result of perceived offence and misconduct that every profession is governed by ethics and code of conduct .The early and the nationalist press was not governed by any formal ethics and code of conduct. For example, editorial policies didn’t exist, from the four paged bilingual Iwe Iroyin to paged Daily times. On ethics and code of conduct in early Nigeria journalism practice, Udoakah  and Nnadi (2007) opined that there was no regulation in the profession and anything went through. This accounts for one of the reasons why up on until today, journalism in Nigeria is still not being seen as a profession but rather as an all-comers affair.

It can’t be disputed that in connection with some of the reasons why journalism practice is still viewed as all-comers affair, Low literacy rate contributes to a large degree of journalism inefficacy and also to a low standard of professional journalistic standard performance. Journalism profession has suffered serious setbacks in its developmental process in Nigeria because: Nigeria has not given priority to degree programs Journalism. Rather graduates from other discipline such as international relations, political science, Accounting, Sociology and English etc. are given on- the- job training in Professional journalism and these non-professionals do the cause damage to the profession because they lack the basic foundations of the profession.

In regards to the above, Gboyega (1989) frowned at the inability of the of the very many press barons in Nigeria to make deliberate efforts to transform journalism in the country to an enviable profession that can compete favorably in its organizational structure , effectiveness and thoroughness and Virility as in other professions like legal, Engineering and banking professions. This works sought to evaluate adherence of journalists on the codes of journalism practice in Enugu state.



Statement of the Problem

Professional journalism practice in Nigeria seems to be the problem in Nigeria today.  It is no longer news that our journalist are continuously been criticized for lack of professionalism in our society today. In as much is the criticism may be  wrong, some  internal and external factors, such as financial problems, influence of media ownership, political instability, rapid advancement of technology in the world,  bribery(brown envelope syndrome), illiteracy level and inadequate job security Pose as big threats and challenge to the practice of professional journalism practice and further complicates the issue.

Not only has the afore mentioned factors posed as a threat to journalism, but studies (Adaja, 2012: Oso, 2012) have shown that the absence of a prescribed qualified test has made it difficult to moderate the standard of journalism practice in Nigeria. The codes of conducts established by journalist at different levels exist to ensure professionalism and reduce the problem of the profession to a minimum level.  Hence, this study sought to evaluate how journalists in Enugu are fully aware and how they adhere to the codes of ethics for professional journalism practice in their practice of journalism in Enugu State.

Objective of the study

This study sought to:

  1. Find out the extent to which journalists in Enugu state are aware of the codes              for professional journalism practice in Nigeria.
  2. Ascertain the knowledge level of journalists on the Nigerian codes for professional journalism practice
  3. Identify the major Nigeria codes for professional journalism practice adhered to by journalists in Enugu State
  4. Evaluate the extent to which the practice of Enugu based journalist corresponds to the codes for professional journalism practice in Nigeria

Research Question

The research work will be guided by the following question.

  1. To what extent are journalists in Enugu state aware of the Nigerian codes for            professional journalism practice?
  2. What is the knowledge level on the Nigerian code for professional journalism practice?
  3. Which of the major Nigerian codes for professional journalism practice adhered by journalist in Enugu state?
  4. To what extent do the practice of Enugu based journalist corresponds to the code for professional journalism practice in Nigeria?