EVALUATION OF AWARENESS AND UTILIZATION OF THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT, 2011, BY BROADCAST JOURNALISTS’ IN KOGI STATE
This study investigated Awareness and Utilization of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 by broadcast journalists in Kogi State. The objectives of the study were to: ascertain the level of broadcast journalists awareness of the FOI Act in Kogi State, investigate if broadcast journalists utilize the FOI Act provisions in the course of their news gathering business, find out the problems associated with the implementation of the FOI Act and determine how to make the Act more functional. Survey research design was used for the study while the sample size was 217 broadcast journalists selected purposively from five broadcast media stations from Kogi state namely: Radio Kogi, NTA, Lokoja, Grace FM, Confluence TV and Prime FM. Multi-stage sampling was adopted for the study with questionnaire as the instrument of data collection. The result of this study showed that 52.1% of the respondents reported that they are aware of the Act to a large extent. (51.2%) of the respondents reported that the extent to which they utilize the Freedom of Information Act in their journalistic exploit is low. Also, the result revealed that the factors that limit the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act are: non-domestication of the Act in Kogi state, unclear definition of operational jurisdiction of the Act, the inclusion of too many exception, non-commitment of government to implement the Act, poor cooperation from public officers who keep custody of public documents, inability to carry state assemblies along in the passage of the act and lack of perseverance pon the part of journalists. Finally, the result of this study showed that for the Freedom of Information Act to be made functional, it should be repealed and re-enacted and thereafter, domesticated by the various states governments in Nigeria. The researcher recommends, among others, that the government should consider the possibility of repealing and re-enacting the Act so as to take care of oversights in the existing one.