Journalism Vs Brown Envelope


By Hajara Abdullahi

Journalism as an indispensable tool in any democratic society is no doubt  essential and eye opening. The advent of the internet and ICT  has promoted the profession beyond its traditional tenets of surveillance, correlation, cultural transmission to a greater height.As a profession journalism has a code of ethics which prevent journalists from accepting money, favour etc in the course of discharging their duties which might prompt them to go beyond the line in reporting accurately.

Brown Envelope journalism has been defined by Wikipedia as”a practice whereby monetary inducement is given to journalists to make them write a positive story or kill a negative story” it could also be seen as an act of receiving, gifts, cash favour etc by a Journalist in order to influence his/her decision. However journalist have been accused of receiving brown envelopes in the course of thier jobs and this has affected the Integrity of the profession and believability of certain reports by the public.

 Sadly the income of most journalists and media personnel is not encouraging, although there’s no justification for any crime. while some are poorly paid others are underemployed this is one of the major reason that has made “BROWN ENVELOPE SYNDROME” rampant among journalists.Therefore media organizations need to increase the earnings and working conditions of their staff to promote integrity in the profession. Concerned organizations like the NUJ, NBC should organize conferences, seminars, workshops for veteran, and aspiring journalists in order to enlighten them on the harmful effect of receiving brown envelope.

Journalists have and will continue to serve as a watchdog in every society as well as bridge the gap between the government and masses , history will not forget Veteran journalists eg Dele Giwa, Enenche Akogwu, Kiki Mordi, Jamal kashoggi, Malala Maiwand etc who paid with their lives for speaking out the truth. Also dedicative and hardworking journalists eg Anas Aremeyau have received public recognition and praise for their selfless and committed attitude towards voicing out the truth as the famous American Linguistic Noam Chomsky said ” The duty of  journalists is to tell the truth. Also the former managing editor of Time magazine Henry Anatole Grunwald postulated that” Journalism can never be silent:that is its great virtue and its greatest fault, It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph, and the signs of horror are still in the air.

Lastly journalists should be dedicative towards their work and should desist from receiving brown envelopes or any other token aimed at perveting the course of their work. Most importantly all hands must be on deck to assist journalists in the course of discharging their duties and abiding by the code of ethics by refusing to offer them bribe and also encourage them by commending their efforts and giving them vital information.

Hajara Abdullahi, Dept of Mass Communication Bayero University Kano

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Sky Daily