FREEDOM OF PRESS AND FREEDOM OF INFORMATION LAW IN NIGERIA
There are legal and social problems that have continued to restrain the Nigerian journalists from adequate and effective news reporting. These laws are meant to dictate to journalists what they should and should not publish. Whether in a military or a civilian government, these laws are always there to serve the objectives of the powers that be, and to brow beat the press. In the past military dictatorships, many journalists and reporters suffered all sorts of deprivations and depredations. When the military relinquished power to a democratically elected civilian government in May 1999, there was general relief owing to the belief that member of the ‘fourth estate” of the realm would have relative freedom, majority of the respondents agreed that press enjoy more freedom under democracy than under the past military. For the purpose of this study, survey method was adopted while questionnaires were distributed to the selected respondents within mass communication department of Osun state Polytechnic, Iree
1.1 Background to the Study
In the main constitutional of expression of the press, the freedom of information law (FOI) is also known as the “public right to know” seeks to give the press and other citizens the right of free access to information held by government.
There have been several efforts by media and civil right advocacy for the media to push for a freedom of information, groups to propels Nigeria in to public club of progressive countries that have liberalized access to public information and for the abrogation of the official secret act. However militant authority has constantly rebuffed the, moves.
The return to democratic ‘rule on May 29, 1999 ushered in a new window of opportunity for a freedom of information law. This effort led to the law before this National Assembly and it is in this furtherance of the possible passage that the public hearing is being held by the senate.
Public acclaim received by the honorable house of representative when it passed the law and declares her public support for this law.
The word over government are wary of the press having access to public information. Aside from the issue of national security matters which everyone agrees must be protected public servants in Nigeria classify every bit of information secret. It has got. to ridiculous extent that even public information bulletins have and stamp place on them.
This law was made to prevent espionage and the communication or transmission of information vital to the society of state from falling in to the hands of enemy.
In many cases the fears of public officials in hording public information are not base on public interest but to cover up shady deals and shoddy handling of publics’ affairs. Such fears perhaps prevented the first national assembly from passing the law even through all major issues and fears raised by members that were allayed at various consultations on the freedom of information law (FOIL).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In view of the above analysis, this project intends to look at an appraisal of Freedom of the Pres and Information law in Nigeria and the main problem of this research is that most of the citizen do not know the law that guide the press freedom and information in Nigeria.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
v To study whether the new FIO law has really reshape the practice of
journalism in Nigeria?
v To know how free are press under the new FIO law?
v To investigate oh whether media are now free from challenges with the
passing of FIO law?
v To examine how journalists make, use of the new freedom in their day
to day assignment?
v To know the short comings of this new FIO law to the performance of
1.4 Research Questions
v To what extent does new FIO law reshape the practice of journalism in
v How free is press under the new Ff0 law?
v To what extent do media free from challenges with the passage of FIO
v To what extent have journalists make use of the new freedom in their
day to day assignment?
v What are the short comings of new FIO law?
1.5 Significant of the Study
Citizens: With the access to information, citizens can fight corruption and closet government and confront the few who misappropriation our resources to themselves alone. It also enables every citizen to know what our government is doing and how the government is spending public funds.
Media Practitioner: The benefit of this research work is to help them to discharge their duties without any intimidation.
Advertiser: The benefit of -this write-up is to make them advertise their
products and services without government control.
Law Enforcement Agencies: Law enforcement agencies should also ceased the indiscriminate abuse and violations of the right on Nigeria, they are urged instead to be the primary role, of their political beliefs.
Students: Students will have access to legitimate government records when conducting important research.
Government: The freedom of the press and information law in Nigeria will decrease government secrecy and opacity.
The study will look at the various laws that guarantee press freedom
from both national and international level.
Moreover, how press freedom is hanging in balance, mostly in developing countries, unlike how it flourishes more in the developed country where there are constitutional and legal provision for its existence will be studied.
The obnoxious law .of senate committee to override and create some exceptional clauses to freedom of information law (FOIL) that guarantee press freedom in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized.
Wide research of this project cannot be carried .out without some constraint.
Time: Duration for-the research, work is relatively short.
Finance: Financial constraint also possesses another challenge.
Stress: Stress emanated from other academic activities is also another constraint. However, because of the aforementioned constraints, the scope of this research shall be narrowed down to Nigeria, in which discussion and analysis will revolve and. as a result of the larger population of Nigeria students, the focus will base on the students of Osun State Polytechnic Iree.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Press: Can be define as newspaper, magazine and the news station of radio
and television and the journalist who work for them.
Press can also define as a person who work on behalf of the people to exercise corruption in the government and among the governed in order to bring the needed changes or reforms and they also educate the people on how they can contribute V their informed judgment to those in, power or government.
Moreover, .press can be view as a person who provides information to the public on vital statistics such as information on the stock market, population, figures, and numbers of schools and hospitals available against the members needed and they also provide entertainment for the people and this definition is mostly pronounced on radio and television.
Press Freedom: Press freedom means allowing the press to perform its traditional roles bf keeping the masses informed about event taking place within and outside the community without threat or hindrance.
Constitution: Constitution is a set of rules that guide human being.
Law: This means a rule of being or, conduct, established by an authority for it to be able to enforce it wilt.
Non-Disclosure: Nondisclosure is an act of not V revealing V the source of information gathered by the reporter.
Hazard: Hazard is the various dangers that reporters are exposed to, during the course of their duties. It is exposure to the risk of being injured, destroyed or killed faced by journalist in their effort to bring information to the public.