News Commercialisation, Objective Journalism Practice and the Sustenance of Democracy in Nigeria
In recent journalism practice, news is increasingly becoming a commodity valued for its role in informing or persuading the public on political, social, cultural and economic issues. Thus, in modern journalism practice, news is commercialised to the extent that only the rich get their ideas communicated to the members of the public. This in turn, affects objective journalism practice, both in the print and electronic media, thereby, negatively impacting on democracy. The survival of democracy depends on the flow of information to the people. Objective journalism practice is needed in democracy. The journalist decides which information will go forward and which will not. Important to realise is that journalists are able to control the public’s knowledge of the actual events by letting some stories pass through the system, while keeping others out. The paper, therefore, evaluates the impact of news commercialisation on objective journalism practice and how it in turn, affects the sustenance of democracy. That is, whether it has negative or positive impact on democracy in Nigeria. The paper examines the rationale behind news commercialisation vis-à-vis its dangers and implications on the sustenance of Nigeria’s democracy; it is anchored on gate keeping theory and the social responsibility theory. In addition, the paper proffers solutions on how to better practise journalism that will earn the goodwill and confidence of the people and contributing positively to democracy, not only in Nigeria, but the entire Africa.
Key words: Journalism; Ethics; News Commercialisation; Objectivity; Democracy and Development
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