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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
It is imperative to understand from the onset that the press has been subjected to a nexus of retractions which has restricted the journalist to a corner as regards their expected reportage and performance.
However, the press has been faced with restrictions through set of codified laws, constitutional encroachments, obnoxious decrease, and official extra judicial limitation among others.
Furthermore, there are certain laws that the practicing Nigeria journalists should adhere to which are his actual professional guidelines, towards a better reportage. Moreover, such press can be seen as legal limitation of the press because of the NUSNGE backings of these press laws herein.
Before going deeper, one cannot out-rightly out state that the level of suggestion or adherence to press laws depends on the level of advancement of country in question. Suffices to note at the juncture, that most countries of the world including Nigeria, control their press through such laws like bribery slander, sedition contempt of court, obscenity and invasion of privacy and among a host of other press laws, but for the purpose of this study as regard the hazard involved, it will be wise to narrow down only in those aforementioned areas.
There are other laws as the copyright, has appropriate laws and among other laws. But the relevance is to analyze the above press laws among a plethora of other Laws on the practicing journalists.
Questions thus, arises what psychological orientation of these laws on the practicing Nigerian journalist? Again, law will the journalists react as regards the press laws in Nigeria? Is the constitution a limiting factor to the operations of the press? All these demand answer.
In a wider sense, the constitution is a body of rules of conduct imposed by a state upon its members and enforced by its courts. The institution regulates the activities of its members through its codified laws. According to J.W Salmond, “the constitution is that body of principle recognized and applied by the state in the administration of justice. Thus, the constitution is supreme and it provides a basis for predicting what will happen given a particular situation. It enables (us) to make a reasoned appraisal as to how society as represented by the courts will treat a particular transaction. Although it is not every action of transaction that will end in court, the law acts as a guide which chart the way transactions are conducted. The constitution therefore channels and shapes our experiences and expectations in a highly interactive world”. However the constitution and the NUJ codes of professional practice, act as an agent of check making and also regulating the functions of journalists through it various laws and ethical conduct. These laws include deformation, privacy, obscenity, copyright, sedition, contempt of court, official secrets act and contract.
The Law of Defamation
Thus, defamation is divided into the categories libel and slander, and this division has important consequences. A libel consists of a defamatory statement of representation in permanent from, if a defamatory meaning is conveyed by spoken words or gestures. It is slander. Examples of libel as distinguished from slander are a picture, statue, wax work, effigy or writing, print, mark or sign exposed to view on the other hand, defamation in the manual language of the deaf and dump, mimicry and gesticulation would probably be slander, because the movement is more transient. These examples show that it is only broadly true to say that libel is addressed to the eye, slander to the ear. It needs no demonstration that if an oral utterance is communicated orally it is slander that is published or that if written statement is published or that if a written statement is show to a third person, it is a libel that is published.
The Law of Privacy
Privacy is one of the fundamental rights of man which distinguishes him from the brutes. Specifically, section (37) of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria states that “the privacy of citizens, their homes correspondence telephone conversation and telegraphic communications in hereby guaranteed and protected.” The idea is to ensure that the privacy of the individuals is protected in no condition should journalists interfere unduly into the private life of any individual.
Copy Right Law
Copy right law according to the Black’s law dictionary defined copy right as “the right to literacy property a recognized and sanctioned by positive law. An intangible incorporeal right granted by statue to the author of origination of certain literacy or artistic production, whereby he is invested for a limited period with the sole and exclusive privilege of multiplying copies of the same and publishing and selling them”. Originally promulgated as copyright decree (47) of 1988 enumerated works, which are eligible for copyright as literacy works. Sound recording, musical works, artist works cinema, autographic films and broadcasts.
Official Secrets Acts
The objective of these acts is to protect the interest of the state. It is climbed at preventing spying of the communication of state secrets and any beach of the official trust. Official secrets acts forbid anybody to approach, inspect Passover, enter into any prohibited area, sketch, plan, model anything intended to be useful to any enemy and or obtain collect, record, or communicate to any person any information which might be or is intended to be useful to any enemy
Law of Obscenity
Obscenity deals with the journalistic avoidance of any publication that tend to deprive or corrupt, those whose minds are vulnerable to such immoral influences.
1.2 STATEMENT OF TE RESEARCH PROBLEM
The actual research modalities as tied to this study is an attempt to explain the effect of press laws on the Nigeria practicing journalist as regard whether these press laws are favorable or unfavorable to the third world nation called Nigeria.
Then again, to even go further to briefly, but elaborately define the press laws to clarity issues from the onset as to what they actually entail.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of the study are as follows:
· To see what the press law entails
· To see whether the press laws are relevant to the Nigerian practicing Journalist or not
· To see whether such press laws can improve the standard of Nigerian practicing journalists.
· To see whether the press laws are obtainable in other parts of the world.
· To see whether press laws should out-rightly be scraped or re-modified the way it is.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study has become imperative not only to the academic guns, but also to the non-academic sector which perhaps uses its functions the proliferation of contemporary journalist with respect to Nigeria
However, it will be pertinent to further analyze various press laws on the practicing journalists in order to take a more official look on the chains of information flow and to further investigate the qualitative output of the Nigerian Journalist in response to press laws.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions are thus put in place to find this study.
· Can the press laws be said to have a positive or negative effect on the Nigerian practicing Journalist
· Are the press laws thus relevant to the practicing journalists or not?
· Can such press law yield a more qualitative output in contemporary Nigerian journalist?
· What are the constitution provisions for the press laws?
1.6 RESEARCH HYPOHESIS
HI – press laws have a positive effect on practicing Nigerian Journalist.
HO – press laws has negative effects on practicing Nigerian
H2 – press law are relevant on the practicing of Nigerian
HO – press law are not relevant on the practicing of
H3 – press law enhances effective practice of journalism in
HO – press law do not enhance effective practice of
Journalism in Nigeria
H4 – press laws has constitutional provisions and backing
HO – press laws has no constitutional provision and backing.
1. 7 THE THEORITICAL FRAMEWOK
The Social Categories Theory
This theory assumes that there are broad collective aggregate or social categories in urban industrial societies whose behavior in the face of a given set of stimuli is more or less uniform.
(Defleur, 1970: 122 – 123) Giving the idea that the press function as a group being professional family, the press laws therefore provides the pressmen the environment with whom which to practice their profession. Thus, the pressmen cannot function outside the confine of the press laws the essence of press laws is to categorize the pressmen into one group to ensure the immunization of media practice. Therefore, the social category which presupposes that pressmen shares similar mentality and reacts to issues as a group in line with their modus operandi is quite germane to this study.
Cognitive Dissonance Theory and Selective Processed
People consciously and unconsciously work to preserve their existing (views) it is found also that people seek out media message consistent with the values of beliefs of those around them. This finding implored that people tried to preserve their existing views by avoiding messages that challenge them.
To ensure of those press law is to uphold the tenets of the cognitive dissonance theory as propounded by Leon festinger. According to the theory people and groups strives to preserve their values and beliefs and anything contrary in that courses psychological discomfort. In other words, the rationale behind the codification of the press laws is to ensure that pressmen function within the premises of tier ethical values. These press laws guide the pressmen in their selective processes such as selective retention, exposure and perception.
To these extents any practice outside the press laws or misconducts wish the press law does not only create psychological discomfort but attracts physical consequences.
1.8 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The research empirically will center on the analysis of press laws in Nigeria practicing journalist as regard to the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria and the NUJ code of professional and ethical conduct practice. Thus, certain press laws that journalist adhere to will be analyzed and discussed for instance; libel, slander, copy right law, obscenity, privacy, etc. furthermore, it is clear that the press laws have been able to enhance and promote standard journalistic practices in Nigeria through various moral and constitutional backings.
1.9 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The limitation of the study shall pin around the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria and the NUJ code of professional and ethical conduct. However, in the actual sense analyzing press laws in Nigeria. One should imperatively note the dynamism of the topic and that it demand a national outlook and affiliated orientation. But suffice it state categorically at this juncture that it will be wise to fully acquaint the reader of this study a full academic expectation owing to envisaged hazards such as monetary constraints, lack of pertinent data, logistic hazard among other hazard which will act negatively as empirically impediments to derail the motive of the study.
1.10 DEFINITION OF TERMS (CONCEPTUAL OPERATIONAL)
In this sub chapter, certain words that have duplicated meanings outside the work have been carefully defined as tied to this research in other to guide the reader against derailed interpretation.
Some of this words or phrases are as follows:
Analysis: (conceptually) this entails the detailed examination of elements or structure for extensive understanding.
Analysis: (operationally) the process of providing deeper meaning into issues or constituent.
Law: (conceptually) this is the whole system of rules that everyone must adhere to.
Law: (operationally) rules subject to a system of professional practice someone regarded as having binding force or effect.
Press: (conceptually) this is the journalist who work for newspaper or broadcast medium
Press: (operationally) those who gather and disseminate new items for public consumption.
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Olikolun, A. (2002). Media reporting and the Tinubu
Administration: one year of Tinubu Administration, Lagos: Tisea consult publisher.
Umechukwu, P.O.). (2000). The dilemmas of mass
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