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Problems and prospects of Investigative Journalism in Nigeria

Problems and prospects of Investigative Journalism in Nigeria. Democracy can thrive where journalists uphold the truth, and nothing but the truth. That is why, investigative journalism in a democratic society cannot be overemphasized, no government anywhere can do without journalism because journalism keeps members of the public abreast of government activities.

Once you see an office being misapropraite, as a journalist, you are duty bound to bring to book such abuse of office by investigating and then report same with a view to redirect the activity of the government for the interest of the citizens. To look critically into issues with a determination to right the wrong can portray you as a journalist who is investigative.

Problems and prospects of Investigative Journalism in Nigeria

Investigative journalism is an instrument of reforms, that of reconstruction and development. It informs, educates, entertains and enlightens both the government and the governed. Put journalism aside and governance will make no sense. It criticized constructively and put the government on check and balance, even as it also project government image as well well as cultural heritage of a people.

It is a profession to be desired. Its role in Nigerian independence is admired by all, of a truth pen is stronger than gun. The role of journalism in sustaining Nigerian democracy cannot be overemphasized, it has helped stabilized Nigerian political system, even as it consistently contributed to the socioeconomic growth of this nation.

It was at the forefront of Nigerian fight for self-government, and it was in the vanguard of Nigerian struggle for independence. Today, one may ask,  is journalism still upholding to its ethics, value and decorum?

Let the practitioners answer within them. The profession has broken the social contract it once had with the people of this nation. It has refused to speak the truth, indeed it has been bought over by political heavyweights and moneybags of this days.

The economic reality of Nigerian nation has weakened the fortress of journalism, what a tragedy! It has sold it’s conscience for a mere pot of beans. Investigative journalism has Now given way to journalism of blackmail and character assassination. No more balanced reportage, its reportage is one sided. Could this be as a result of hunger in the land.? Paid newsstories on the pages of the newspapers. He got information maybe, from one side, he does not go to the press immediately, he has to investigate, get the information from all the parties concerned before he reports, but now is not so, there is outside influence over the practice of journalism, political class are in journalism practice, they want to know on whose Favour is the publication, they decide on what to publish and what not to be published. You published what tend to uncover or exposed their evil, you will be threatened with court case, worst still close down your media house.

That aside, how many practitioners now a days go out on investigative journalism, how many of them go to that rural area, where there is no road, no portable water, and no electricity, how many of tham go there to find out some issues within the community and then report same to attract government attention to such deplorable condition of that community for government intervention. I doubt if there is any. What you see now is that if a journalist does not hit government, attack government or blackmail government for his personal greed and interest, he will be turned into government sycophantic microphpne. Journalism practice today is a departure of what it used to be, and who knows why the departure. A good number of Nigerian journalists are not paid, they are only given platforms to fain for themselves, now tell me, why they mortgage their conscience for whatever reason.

They are the most abused while on field work by security operatives, sometimes they got shot, beaten, they are exposed to various danger in the cause of their work. Infact, they encountered quite a number of challenges in the real practice, one of such challenges has been the issue of funding which is very fundamental to the success of investigative journalism. Some media outfits are no reason to fund the exercise. Moreso, great many a times journalists are discouraged because of how bocus the job is, lest alone the long story which makes them sidestepped the exercise in the course of meeting schedule. Yet, another problem is that of secrecy in government, where such secret is prohibited to be uncovered by journalists so as to avoid instances, where such revelation could undermine the interest of government to the people.

Furthermore, though investigative journalism is strenuous, it can be  benefiting, yet they are susceptible to attack particularly from the social class. Most often, they  are seen as thread to some politicians, and most often too, the politicians do behave funny, once the noted that some journalists are around them.

 

Suggestions:

Investigative journalism has helped in improvng the journalists themselves, as they (the journalists) continue in the practice, and as they continue to contribute to the overall socioeconomic development of Nigerian state, there is need to equip investigative journalists with relevant know-how in order for them to succeed in the profession. Knowledge updating  program should be encouraged so that journalists’ reportage can be objective.

Investigative journalism is very demanding and time consuming therefore, it needs some incentives and proper funding for it to succee,d as it is cost intensive. Investigative journalism entails gathering much information, going many places and meeting new people and as well many people. So through proper financing of investigative journalism, practitioners will be encouraged to carry it to any to any level, if only its objective can be achieved. A good incentive will motivate journalists to work effectively inspite of intimidation and threat posed on them by political class.

Since democracy and journalism works in paripasu, an enabling environment should be created for the practice, where threats to the lives of journalists should be discouraged and stopped, while they exercising their duties. Again they should be rewarded because in every labour there must be reward. It is unfortunate that many of this journalists are not paid by their employers and those who are paid at all, their take home pay is not encouraging, so their pay packages should be reviewed to give room for reasonable reward at the end of such a strainuous work. Moreso, attractive service condition should be created in the field of journalism to encourage journalists embrace investigative journalism because this is the only way the relevant authority can influence the practice to help drive socioeconomic growth of this nation

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Joseph Athanasius

Joseph Athanasius is a Content Developer at InfoGuideNIgeria.com. InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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