GRATIFICATION AND JOURNALISM PRACTICE AMONG JOURNALIST IN UYO
- Background of the Study
A complex human society is undoubtedly characterized by chains of circumstances that may affect human existence. Wars, insecurity, poverty, diseases, political turbulence, insurgencies, etc are all societal ills which human beings face on a daily basis. The striving to recognize and possibly submerge these occurrences advances the place of man from an ordinary higher creature to an exceptionally rational being.
Beyond these, information stands out as a priceless commodity in its veritable and expedient nature. It illuminates human paths, enlarges their coasts, brings about knowledge and learning, brightens hope and set the pace for a meaningful habitation. The outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in some West African countries for instance, would have claimed more lives but not for the availability of timely information. Information guides human thoughts, direct out steps, influence their decisions, strengthens their weaknesses and brings hope. In times of fear and hopelessness, a piece of information can direct many to achieve comfort and fulfillment.
Globally, one of the largest areas in which information abound is communication while the most potent purveyor of information is the mass media of communications, otherwise known as the press.
In media communication (particularly journalism), the press has the potentials of delivering huge amount of information to a large heterogeneous audience simultaneously with some level of immediacy. This paramount role of the press (information dissemination) breeds a consensus to the assertion of Thomas Jefferson an American Capitalist when he stated “if it were left for me to decide whether we (America) should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should hesitate a moment to prefer the latter”. The information role of the media in any nation is so immense. Little wonder why the Nigerian Constitution saddles on the media the statutory responsibility of information dissemination hence the nomenclature “Fourth Estate of the Realm”. Here, the media watch over the environment, see danger and ill happenings and report to the polity to enable them take precautions measure to avert such sugar. Journalism, a core constituent of mass communication, entails a lot of gate-keeping activities.
The first in the gate line are reporters or journalists who collect, scrutinize and decide which information get to the public, for them to satisfactorily deliver such important duty they are bound by professional codes of conduct. Today’s journalism records a high record of professional decadence where journalists accept rewards and gratification. This goes a long way to affect their consciences ridicule professional codes of ethics and majorly misinform the generally of the Nigerian society.
Reward and gratification of journalists by their information sources is not just a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the flesh of journalism in Nigerian but also a clag in the wheel of national development and professional standard and integrity. The rate of this unfortunate syndrome has attained such an alarming rate such that even the blind can feel wanton disastrous effect both now and in the nearest future. Objectivity, accuracy and honesty are journalist’s basic qualities which appear to have now been overwhelmed by a desire for brown envelop from news makers so as to present tasteful news (reports) about them and their sordid dealings at the expense of professionalism and national progress.
It is a truism that a society that is not well informed is deformed. Therefore, such misinformed society has immeasurable doom staring at its face because corruption will emerge the order of the day and “blacks” no longer “blacks” but “white” while “lies” become acceptable “truths”. For instance, a business man importing fake drugs and such drugs (on account of acceptance of gratification by reporters) are being reported and advocated as best pills, is not just disastrous but generational condemnation.
Nevertheless, information is a “commodity” that brings life not misfortune nor mishap journalists, who are major informants, owe the society their consciences and lots more in the discharge of their statutory duties. Journalists’ acceptance of gratification from their news sources in order to “paint a dark picture white” is nothing but a long term outbreak of deception confusion and doom. It is on this premise therefore, that the researcher set out to dig deep and assess gratification and journalism practice among journalists in Uyo.
- Statement of the Problem