INSTITUTIONALISING DEMOCRATIC NORMS THROUGH THE USE OF FOI ACT FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING BY JOURNALISTS IN NIGERIA

Ajakaiye O.P. Olanrewaju, Omowale Adelabu (PhD), Bernice O. Sanusi (PhD), Gbenga Owoeye, Rachael O. Ojeka-John, Jubilee T. Apalowo, Oluwakemi E. Popoola

Abstract


Freedom of Information (FOI) is a fundamental and democratic right of citizens to freely access information without institutional or legal encumbrances which has become a global scale for measuring development across the globe. Despite the adoption of the law by developed and developing countries, it is still bedevilled by underutilisation making access to valuable information by journalists for investigative reporting a serious challenge (Dunu and Gregory 2014). This paper situates the FOI bill in the context of journalism practice to determine its level of exploration for investigative journalism in performing the social responsibility of holding government accountable to the people as stipulated in Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution as amended thereby, promoting transparency, good governance and development. In conducting the study, qualitative methodology was adopted using thematic analysis to analyse the study findings. A population of ten correspondents of national media organizations in Kwara State were purposively chosen based on their availability and convenience of the researchers (Signh and Masuku 2014). Findings revealed that there is a higher degree of awareness about FOI Law among journalists but they have not substantially demonstrated required professional will in accessing valuable information through it, while cost implications, ownership lack of support, presumed patronage and gratifications were identified as eminent challenges in the utilisation of the Law. The study however recommends integration of FOI request as a journalist performance index, part of criteria for promotion and further advocacy on the Nigeria media owners to support any journalist being prosecuted for using the FOI to make request in the line of duty, as this would promote expected development on a large scale in Nigeria.

Keywords


Freedom of Information, Investigative Journalism, Democracy, Ownership, Development

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Copyright (c) 2022 Ajakaiye O.P. Olanrewaju, Omowale Adelabu (PhD), Bernice O. Sanusi (PhD), Gbenga Owoeye, Rachael O. Ojeka-John, Jubilee T. Apalowo, Oluwakemi E. Popoola

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 ISSN (Print):   2695-2319

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.