Media Law And Ethics Definition


Media law and ethics is one of the most important courses in mass communication that every student and every citizen must know or have an idea on.

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 To best understand what media law and ethics is, we need to look at what law means and also what ethics means.

media law and ethics
media law and ethics


Law can simply be defined as a set of rules and regulations that is being enforced by leaders or the government in order to control the behavior of the people. 

Those rules are confirmed and entrenched by the authority and there are punishments as a result of disobeying these rules.


  • Do not kill
  • Do not take someone’s property without his or her consent
  • Do not drink alcohol while driving 


Ethics can simply Be defined as moral principles that govern the behavior of people. It revolves around the right and wrong decision making of the people in the society of Nation. 

Ethics deals with the way of living, this way of living affects the people either positively or negatively.


Media law can be defined as laws that are enforced by the federal and state government to regulate or control the activities of the media.

Every country in the world has law and ethics that govern the operation of the media outlets and the journalists. This tells the media what to do, how to do, when to do and what not to do at all and they can’t break those rules; there are penalties if broken.

One of the basic things to know about media law and ethics are the types.


  • Print Media laws; which refers to newspapers magazines journals books and others
  • Electronic Media laws; which refers to Radio and Television, even the internet.

Below are some of the rules that govern the media.

  • The media have freedom of speech but yet have limitations and regulations to some certain issues
  • One of the rules that governs the media is that there should not be defamation of character be it in the print Media or electronic Media.
  • There should not be hate speech against a particular group or an individual
  • The Media or journalists should not give false information to the people every information must be factual

Another basic thing to know about media law and ethics is that the NBC is involved.


NBC Nigerian broadcast commission
NBC National broadcast commission

The NBC which is known as the national broadcast commission is a body that is set to monitor and control the activities of the media. It is the duty of the NBC to detect defamation of character, false information, hate speech, indecency and any unusual thing that goes wrong in the media.

Without the national broadcast commission, a lot of things will go wrong in the media and a lot of journalists will report or say whatever they like against anybody because it is not all journalists that passed through professional training.


  1. The NBC are in charge of regulating Media activities, be it print Media or electronic Media.
  2. The NBC national broadcast commission accredits university courses that are related to mass communication and  broadcasting

The national broadcast commission played so many roles in the media and in the aspect of disseminating information.


Media ethics a set of moral principles that guides the way of life or activities of the media. This includes the rights and the wrongs of the media towards diseminating information to the public such as;

  1. Truthfulness
  2. Credibility
  3. Not being biased
  4. Accuracy in times of diseminating information.
  5. Fairness and impartiality
  6. Humanity and honesty

With the following principles, the media or journalists will do well in every 


So many people and students in particular get confused and times of differentiating between law and ethics yes law and ethics have something in common but yet have differences

  • The similarities between law and ethics is that they both deal with doing the right things
  • Law is enforced by the federal and state government while ethics is enforced by mostly religious leaders
  • Laws are simply the right things you must do while ethics are the right things you should do as a good and reasonable person.
  • In the aspect of the media, law refers to what the media must do while Ethics refers to what the media should do
  • Law is usually in a written form while ethics are not.
  • There are punishments to the breaking or disobedience to law; such as imprisonment or serving a jail time while ethics has no punishments, but the perception of people will change towards you because of your wrong doings or immoral acts
  • Ethics has to do with a whole society state or country while ethics has to do with an individual’s mindset.

Apart from the media law and ethics there are certain qualities that a journalist is supposed to possess.


  1. A professional journalist must have a good communication skills
  2. He or she must be able to make proper investigations before reporting any news or event
  3. Humility and honesty is compulsory for a journalist
  4. Journalists must be confident in anything you do or anything they want to do
  5. A good journalist does not take sides, no partiality.
  6. A good journalist must be truthful in everything he or she does
  7. The ability to make thorough research is compulsory for a journalist
  8. He or she must always be inquisitive wanting to know or learn more
  9. A reporter or a journalist must have nose for news
  10. Being able to work under stress and pressure is what makes up a journalist

I believe this article did not confuse you but rather give you more highlights and information on media law and media ethics because for a very long time there have been arguments going on on this same issue,  people were confused not knowing the differences and the similarities between the two.

Different people are using the media for their own personal purposes so the media he’s a very big centre of attention that is why many things have been regulated and  been watched to avoid false information or false intentions.

Always come back to Naija files for more information, learning continues…



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