By Kingsley Agbor: Calabar, Cross River state
Journalist all over the world have acquired reputation as one of the most hazardous professions in modern society. By the nature of their profession, journalists often find themselves in conflicts with people, especially politicians and wealthy citizens.
An American mass communication expert, Dr. Paul Hemp , sometimes commended Nigerian Journalist for their performances in spite of operating in a difficult socio-political terrain. Dr. Hemp said ‘the ability of Nigerian Journalist to perform creditably with obsolete equipment was an eloquent testimony of their determination to excel in their profession’.
A Journalist first and foremost is one who is generated by the ethics of his profession and who will not easily succumb to pressures, gratification or acts that reduce his integrity in the eyes of the public.
Over the years the press and its practitioners in Nigeria have experienced many tribulations, has wadded through thin and thick. As a matter of fact, the hazardous nature of the journalism profession makes it imperative to that its practitioners must be made comfortable and secure in the course of their duties.
Governments an d their agencies constitute the main source of news for the press while the press remains the most effective instrument for mass dissemination of information. This emphasizes the fact that an enlightened citizenry can only be nurtured when both the government and the press recognize the inter-dependence of each other.
This underlines the desirability for improved relationship between the government and the press and this could only be achieved if governments are easily accessible and forthcoming with information and the press being patriotic and objective in its dissemination of news.
When government hoards information, journalists become suspicious and speculative which may cause misunderstanding or havoc in the policy.
However, the major problems confronting journalists in this country is internal conflict among themselves. Lack of confidence in their leadership and in-fighting which tend to distract them from their noble profession and distract from their effort towards national growth and stability.
They should work to promote the ideals of governance, work to champion the cause of the down trodden and helpless and ensure justice and fairness in the society as well as disseminate government’s policies and programmes meant for the betterment of the people. It is heartening that journalism as the fourth estate of the realm has been sustained and will continue to be so. But this will be possible when the public appreciates the role and problems and government sees its practitioners as partners in progress.
Although, there are still criticisms of Nigerian journalists, it is believed that out of the morass will arise a corp of patriotic and committed journalist who will be the pride of the Nation and the true watch-dog of the people.
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