Newspaper management: Editor-in-chief, Conflict between law and profession – By Nsikak Essien

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In the eyes of Nigerian Newspaper law there’s no Editor in Chief who has editorial powers higher than the Editor.

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But in Journalism practice and newspaper management we have imported in the last 30years the position of Editor in Chief, with editorial powers higher than the newspaper Editor.

In practice the Editor in Chief can re-edit stories or pages approved by an Editor but in the eyes of the law he or she bears no responsibility for the consequences.

It’s totally unethical for an Editor to stand in court and shift responsibility for an error in his newspaper on the Editor in Chief. So how do we reconcile this situation where an Editor is punished in court for the sins of his superior officer?

Remember as Dr. Babatunde Jose said, an advice from a superior officer is an instruction. Jose is probably the greatest name in Nigerian journalism in over a century.

Initially we had Editor in Chief as the highest editorial staff among Editors of various newspapers within a group. Now even companies with single newspaper publication have Editor in Chief. How ridiculous!

Can Nigerian Guild of Editors and NPAN resolve this legal and professional conflict?

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