Newspapers’ Constitutional Responsibility of Holding Government Accountable to the People in Nigeria: Some Seemingly Unassailable Challenges?

Rodney Ciboh


This paper reviews roles newspapers can play in curbing corruption and what seemingly unassailable challenges they faced in facilitating the anti-corruption crusade by Olusegun Obasanjo administration between 1999 and 2007 in Nigeria. The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (amended) says the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people of Nigeria The paper observes that while newspapers can fulfill these social and constitutional responsibilities in both tangible and intangible ways, the effectiveness of newspapers in acting as forces against corruption in Nigeria is, however, threatened  by factors both intrinsic and extrinsic to the media such as official immunity and secrecy, lack of access to official information, moral obligations to the ethnic community, professional integrity and responsibility, editorial independence, physical threats, harsh economic realities and more. The paper concludes that unless these challenges are surmounted, newspapers may largely remain stymied in their anti-corruption roles and functions and hardly be useful in any efforts to curb corruption in the country.

KEY WORDS Newspapers, Corruption, Anti-Corruption Crusade, Challenges, Constitutional Responsibility

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3267 ISSN (Online)2224-3275

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