AN Ethical code is without doubt a sine qua non in any profession. Journalism today faces an increasing need for critical reporting, accuracy fairness and objectivity. The Code of Ethics is therefore, the companion of the practicing journalist as well as the informed public in providing ethical guidelines by which practitioners can judge and be judged.

This Code is new and comes after a painstaking and collective effort of Nigerian Journalists represented by the Nigerian Press Organization (NPO) and the Nigerian Press Council (NPC) whose adjudications are predicted entirely on the interpretations and provisions of the Code. The old Code of Ethics put together and adopted by the NPO since 1979 was clearly deficient in many vital areas. It lacked boldness, forthrightness and clarity and looked more of a gratuitous contrivance which could compound and obfuscate judgement of any perceived wrong doing in journalism practice.

The new Code is a consensus document. It is bold, detailed and evinces clarity for practitioners and the public alike. It is a credit to Nigerian Journalists that they could set so clear and unambiguous yardstick for their own practice and judgement.

This review process began in March 1996, when the Press Council held a National workshop in Ota, Ogun State in collaboration with the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) which successfully reviewed the old Code of Conduct to make it more responsive to violations in Journalism practice. The amended Code was adopted by the central working committee of the NUJ in an in-house conference held in Abuja, shortly after the Ota Workshop. To give it yet the widest possible acceptance, the NPC finally organized the Ilorin Forum, form March 18-20, 1998 where the NPO made up of NUJ, NGE and Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria formally ratified and gave impetus for the implementation of the new Code.

This publication also contains the Ilorin Declaration and illustration of relevant sections of the enabling law of the Nigerian Press Council on qualification for registration of the Nigerian Journalists. We believe the New Code should be the practitioners’ companion and delight.