National Security and Journalism Practice: Emerging Considerations for Nigerian Journalists (Published)
National security has in recent times become a planetary concern with the security beat even more daunting for journalists. This has therefore necessitated the need to streamline the ethical issues involved in covering national security with a view to averting the disclosure of information that may create bedlam, cause damage and endanger national security. The nature of study was thematic and this necessitated focus group discussions among select journalists and officials of some law enforcement agencies in Nigeria. Discussions however revealed that most journalistic reports tend to blur the line of distinction between the right to know and the need to know. This was equally found to be borne out of a marketing concern by newspaper proprietors to have headlines that will sell their papers. Conversely, it was also found that some government officials, in the guise of national security, overtly classify information bits that ought not to be classified. Drawing from the foregoing, it was recommended that journalists should develop checklists that will ensure that national security reports must predominantly be devoid of technical and location details that are capable of putting lives and programmes in jeopardy. It was further recommended that news reports on national security must be truthful, accurate and must also be backed by a compelling need to reveal it in an ethical manner in contradistinction to wanton disregard.