Gratification is a form of bribery and acceptance of gifts, money and other non-monetary gifts which are usually accepted by journalists for performing their normal duties. Consequently, journalists are encouraged to refuse and deviate from accepting free trips, free meals and other freebies.
The commonest type of bribe in journalism is the so called ‘brown envelop’ which is a monetary bribe handed out to an unethical journals to pressurize him or her into doing what the person giving the bribe wants. For instance, if the person that is giving the journalist bribe wants his story to come on with the money that reporter has collected he or she has to make sure that the story is on network news, even if it is not meant for.
Monetary bribes and other gifts tie the hands of journalist who then become incapable to being objective in reporting events or issues involving people who gave the gift or making sure the story comes on
The first causality in reporting when journalist succumb to the evils of materialism, slanting news reports and even outright ties, character assassination could and up becoming an unethical journalist as they attempt to satisfy or please whom they have collected bribes from.
Gratification is an unethical act in journalism, every journalist in Nigeria today practice this set of collecting bribes from wherever assignment is been covered.
The acceptance of journalist to be on the pay roll of public office holders, especially state government, such captured journalists receive monthly allowance with a vow to keep quiet on their negative activities. They provide these journalists with free meals since he who pays the piper dictates the tune. Journalists return to write favourable news stories about them.
Objectivity however means not being influenced by your opinions when you have to make a judgement or decision. Objectivity explains that when covering a news report, the reporter should not convey his or her feeling, brasses or prejudices in the story. Objectivity is the balanced account of knowledge about a subject different sources analysing a story.
Book, ethics if mass communicator Edeani (1993:42) explains that ‘objectivity essentially requires that journalist in reporting the news should keep themselves out of their report by not injecting their opinions and emotions into news stories such emotions and opinions should belong to the editorial pages. This means that the reporter should be emotionally detached and impassive to the facts of the story whether he likes or dislikes the event. The reporter is just ethically bound to confine his opinions to the opinion pages where he or she can say whatever he wants to say.
However, Gilmore and Root (1993:42) explains that it is not always desirable, particularly in the reporting of complex event in which the journalist’s analysis, interpretation and evaluation are necessary for the audience understanding of the event being reported.
In reporting such events, as Gilmore and his colleague apparently suggest writing a second interpretative story which introduce the reporters evaluations (which are admittedly subjective with personal colourings) but does this as clearly and honestly as objectively as possible, is definitely the ideal way to handle the situation.
Journalists should realize that a solution is being objective is to be fair, factual, non-partisanship and be honest at all times.
A lot of people within and outside Nigeria are of the opinion that the nation has a relatively free press and freedom of speech. The law provides for freedom of speech and of the press but today in practice we have a distorted media, a medium that is fighting several battles, the people and the government amongst others. Despite the battling the media still remains of the place to work. Media houses owe salaries for several months yet ‘publishers’ leave in affluence while reporters as domestic staff.
Reporters do a lot of work, but the remuneration very poor, this is why most of these journalist involves themselves in so many unethical conducts that question this claim of objectivity. Journalistic codes are moral principles or rules set out by Nigeria press council (NPC) to regulate ethical conducts of their members.
- PROBLEMS OF THE STUDY
The problem of this study is to identify what impact gratification has on the objectivity of news reporting. This study also seek to establish the extent of the impact of gratification on objectivity of news writing.
This study prompted by the assertion that corruption has taken over the codes of con duct of journalism practice especially in Nigeria and reporters now depends on free meals, free services and ‘brown envelop’ to carry out their job.
In view of this assertion, the study dwells on attempting to discover the impact of gratification on objectivity in news writing and to what extent.
- OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The objective of this study is to inform members of the press as well as the cub journalists on the need of the code of ethics of journalism and to minimize the flow of gratification or patronage to suppers or publish information and to inform them about the negative effect of gratification and of course to encourage professionalism and to ensure that discipline is enhanced in the practice of journalism.
The research in completion will serve as reference material to fellow colleagues who desires to carry out research on similar topic.
- SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study restricts itself to the broadcast media only (power FM Bida) and to examine the level of objectivity in news writing as well as reporting. Also the effects of gratification on news writing, journalists and how it affects their practices.
- LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The project is focused on the impact of gratification on objectivity in news writing. This will be limited to the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria power FM Bida Niger state.
The reasons why the researcher has decided to restrict itself here, is use to lack of manpower to carry out this research. Furthermore, the time provided for this study was inadequate and faced with a lot of financial constraints.
- DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
Objectivity: not being influenced by your own feelings, opinions or other people’s emotions when you have to make a judgement or decision.
Journalism: the work of collecting, writing and publish8iin material in newspapers and magazines or on television and radio.
Distorted: to explain a fact, statement, idea etc. in a way that changes its real meaning.
Affluence: having plenty of money so that you can afford to buy expensive things, living in a nice house.
Gratification: it conceptually refers to gift given to somebody in point in time. It could be money, and other incentive given to journalist in media houses, newspapers, magazine, radio and television by news makers to influence their news coverage as opposed to ethics of journalism profession.
Impact: conceptually means effect on something, operationally, it means negative or positive influence of gratification on journalist sense of news judgement.
Ahshull Herbert (1984). Agent of power: New York Longman incorporated.
Laswell Harold (1993): Propaganda Technique in the world war, New York smith press
Mac Bride Seen (1927): Many voices, on world: communication and society today and tomorrow. Parris: UNES publishing company.
Okunna Stella (2001): the critical journalist as the Bastion of Democracy (Ed) Nwosu the Nigeria journal of communication volume1.
Gilmore and Root (1975): journalistic ethics: mass media, moral and ethical. Hasting House New York 1975.
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