Format: MS WORD |  Chapter: 1-5 |  Pages: 65-80 |  Price NGN3,000




This study was intended to examine the effect of commercial news on the ethics of journalism. This study was guided by the following objectives; to know the extent of how the commercial news is affecting ethics of journalism, to know the side effect of commercial news in the ethics of journalism, to examine the possible future of commercial news and to know the ethical implication of news commercialization. The study employed the descriptive and explanatory design; questionnaires in addition to library research were applied in order to collect data. Primary and secondary data sources were used and data was analyzed using the chi square statistical tool at 5% level of significance which was presented in frequency tables and percentage. The respondents under the study were 120 staff of selected media houses in Abuja, FCT. Nigeria. The study findings revealed that commercial news affect the ethics of journalism; based on the findings from the study, the broadcast and print media in Nigeria should endeavour to refrain from news commercialization; the news should not be based on the amount of money one has instead, it should be based on the newsworthiness of the event.





Every profession has certain codes of conduct evolved by years of practice, to render it of the maximum use to the society, to promote its standard and to prevent its abuse. These codes of conduct are known as ethics (Daramola, 1999). The term ethics is derived from the Greek words ‘ethikos’ (moral) and ethos (character), referring to values or rules of conduct held by an individual, group or society at large. In philosophy, ethics is the study of human actions in respect to being right or wrong or the study of human conduct in the light of moral principle. Moral principle may be viewed either as the standard of conduct that an individual has constructed for himself or a body of obligations and duties that a particular society requires of its members (Daramola, 1999). According to Daramola, the study of ethics developed as man began to study the motives behind their actions and the result ant effects of these actions. Merrill (1975) sees ethics as a branch of philosophy that helps professionals determine what is right to do. It is a normative science of conduct concerned primarily as self-determined and voluntary conduct. Professional ethics are important for inner discipline. What may not be illegal may yet be unethical. Ethics therefore stands on a higher pedestal than law as far as moral compulsions are concerned (Daramola, 1999).


The ethics of any profession prescribe the moral standards every professional is expected to observe in the practice of his/her profession. Once the ethical precept of any profession is codified and adopted as the common ethical standards of a given profession, there is the need for professionals of that given profession to apply the standardized moral codes in the discharge of their professional practice. Journalism practice like other professions has a number of codes of ethics that guide its practice.

In Nigeria for instance, a code of ethics which guide the conducts of journalists in the practice of their professional practice abound. In summary, the ethical code prescribes among others that journalists should exhibit high level of responsibility in deciding news contents; be fair and accurate in reporting issues of public interest; respect individuals’ right to privacy; protect the confidentiality of their sources of information; maintain decency in their reportage of issues; avoid discrimination of any kind; protect national interest; and shun the act of soliciting for or accepting bribe and all forms gratifications as precondition for publishing information (Fab-Ukozor, 2000; Nwodu, 2006:165 and Udeze, 2012).

Journalism practice wields such enormous powers and call for the highest standards of ethics and commitment to truth. Ethics and truth in journalism have assumed global concern as scholars that their basics constituents of objectivity, accuracy, fairness and balance have merely assumed mythical qualities as journalist battle to assign credibility to their news stories.   According to Tuchman in 1978:2, describes objectivity as facility (a mechanism which allows the journalist to hide even from themselves the constructed and partial nature of their stories). This view seems to have garnered force as increasingly scholars suggest that news when professionally selected is guided more by organization needs than by professionalism. The journalist thus becomes a walking paradox (Nordenstreng 1995), as one cannot fail to see that journalism is so full of contradiction.   That we have to question even the most fundamental dogma of the profession truth seeking because the way it has been conceived and practiced in journalism serve as a deceptive filtering device preventing as much as helping the truth been discovered (Nordenstreng in 1995:117). News commercialization practice in Nigeria media industries adds to this contradiction and deception, creating a continuous dilemma for ethics and objectivity in journalism practice in Nigeria.

Today journalism, as an industry and a profession, is characterized by ever-increasing turbulence and change, for better and for worse. Profound transformations affect every aspect of the institution, including the economic health of journalism, the conditions and self-understandings of its practitioners, its ability to serve as a watchdog on concentrations of power, its engagement with and relationship to its audience, and its future prospects. This emerging and dynamic ecology can be viewed as a unique constellation of challenges and opportunities. For these reasons, the fifth Future of Journalism conference, held in Cardiff on 10–11 September 2015, focused on the theme of Risks, Threats and Opportunities. The conference saw over 120 papers from around the world presented across 34 sessions, with keynote speeches from Dan Gillmor, Stephen Reese and Jean Seaton. This introduction briefly outlines some of these key risks, threats and opportunities, drawing on work presented at the conference, as well as insights from the field of journalism studies.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

MacBride et al (1980) emphasises what then was becoming an ugly trend in news treatment around the globe. According to the scholars, “important developments, especially in the countryside are pushed aside by unimportant or even trivial news items concerning urban events and the activities of personalities. The implication is that most often, journalists no longer rely on professionally set standard for deciding what makes news. The traditional criteria for judging or determining newsworthy events, ideas, places and personalities are fast giving way to “cash and carry journalism” (Nwodu: 2006). This study is design to expose the concept of news commercialization, thus, to know if commercialization of news violates the ethics and conduct of journalist, to know how commercialization of news has affected information flow tremendously, to know how the commercialization of news makes it susceptible to abuse by interest groups who can pay their way into the media. So as to project an idea they want people to accept whether it is positive or   shall be narrowed down to Nigeria in which discussion and analysis will revolve.



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