By EMMANUEL UDOM
In his book about Journalism Practice, Kingsley’s veracity towards Journalism is undiluted and scrupulous. In the opening pages of his book “The Practice of Journalism in a Democracy”
The author laid down a solid foundation by explaining various forms of Government i.e. Democracy, Oligarchy, Monarchy, Dictatorship, Totalitarianism. Succinctly, as it boils down to Democracy and the Media.
This tremendous book captures contemporary issues in the practice of Journalism, it is not just for Media students offering Media Law and Ethics or other related courses but also for the general public due to the fact that it premium tells of the enactment of the freedom of information bill in Nigeria.
In his words; the enactment of the freedom of information bill in Nigeria is a sine qua non for a quantum leap to Journalism practice and in upholding democracy.
This is a bill that gives everyone a legal right of access to information from Government and private bodies carrying out public functions. This bill stands as a guarantee in information gathering, although political understanding has it that the bill has been watered. It is a book that succours.
The Nigeria press during the military era experienced “extra-legal, extra-judicial and arbitrary actions” emanating from military junta’s efforts “to cow the press, and suppress the dissemination of pluralistic news and information in the mass media.
Information from the book has it that sections of the constitutions were either modified or suspended by the military dictators for selfish reasons. In order to muffle opinions and intimidate media practitioners, many political critics, journalists and media executives were randomly arrested and detained without trial.
A lot more were harassed intimidated and tortured. Stressing on the treatment meted out to journalists, “one magazine editor, DELE GIWA, was murdered and prominent critics were killed or tortured. In another remarkable instance, military authorities dealt a journalist, Minere Amakiri, twenty-four strokes of the (koboko) whip across the bare back.It further posits challenges Media houses encountered that several media houses, especially the print, were shut down. Imagine a situation where a number of newspaper and magazines were confiscated at newsstand. In fact, the actions and the overall have analyzed the institutional measures employed by the military dictators to control the press.
However, with the entrance of democracy, the dimension of threat to journalism practice seems to have changed.
The Practice of Journalism in a Democratic Nigeria
Kingsley Ndimele, in his book defines Democracy as the rule of the people that insists on the rights of the people, to control their institutions for their own purposes through their leaders or representatives. It compassionately tells and persuade for a colossal need for indispensable governance as the freedom of the press must be accorded. Thus, Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with amendments 2011 under obligation of the mass media states that:
The press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people.
Kingsley posits that the mass media helps in a democratic polity. In democracy, policies that affect the masses tend to pass through public opinion by the help of the mass media; hence journalism is a tool in enhancing Democracy.
It further reveals of the challenges facing the mass media in Nigeria; Economical problems, political problems, professional problems among others and he recommended solutions to these challenges.
The young author who holds a Bachelor of art Degree in Mass communication exposes the efficacy of a country’s constitution, constitutional duties of the mass media in Nigeria together with the canons of journalism. Finally writing a book is a hard work, no matter where the writer was born; in “The Practice of Journalism in a democracy” Ndimele must have worked hard together with the publisher, UNIQUE BOOKS Websmedia communication Ltd, Owerri to produce a professional work. The book will be launch /presented on the 20th of March 2013 in Abia state university, uturu as the vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Chibuzo Ogbuago will be the chairman of the occasion. Kingsley may your academic/ democratic contribution be recompense.