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Nigerian Journalists' Awareness of, and Adherence to, Social Responsibility and Pro-Development Principles

Ridwan Abiola Kolawole
Babatunde Raphael Ojebuyi


Journalism is a sacred profession that has been accorded significant recognition as an institution that services the modern democratic system. Therefore, journalists are expected to be well-grounded in both the practical aspects and those fundamental doctrines that explain how the mass media should perform to serve the social system, especially in African nations with emerging democracy and development deficiencies. Existing Nigerian studies on media performance have examined media coverage of development issues, press freedom, media ownership and objectivity in the context of democracy. However, journalists' awareness of the media roles as specified by Social Responsibility and Developmental tenets, and factors that influence adherence to such tenets have not received enough scholarly attention. This study was, therefore, designed to examine Nigerian journalists' level of awareness of the tenets of the social responsibility and developmental frameworks to establish the journalists' adherence to such frameworks and the factors influencing the adherence. Through a mixedmethods design, data were generated from journalists and manifest contents of selected Nigerian newspapers. The majority (80.5%) of Nigerian journalists sampled were not aware of the media roles as stipulated by the tenets of Social Responsibility and Development Media theories. Overall, the journalists confirmed low adherence to the principles of the two theories and identified profit-making (35.0%) and ownership (25.0%) as factors militating against adherence to the tenets of theseĀ  theories by some journalists. Low adherence to social responsibility and developmental principles by journalists has negative consequences for democratic success in Nigeria as a country with developmental deficits.

Keywords: Nigerian journalists, Nigerian newspapers, social responsibility, media ownership, profit-making

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print ISSN: 2141-9744