PRESS COVERAGE ON 2015 BUDGET PADDING: A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE NATION AND DAILY SUN NEWSPAPERS
1.1 Background of the Study
Press refers to the art or business of printing and publishing. Hence, published materials of news stories or literature written correctively: more especially, news information disseminated to the masses for readership. It is also referred to as a company that produces or disseminates literature of information to the masses in the society. The press employs journalists to collect disseminate news information to the public via newspaper and other publications. But this research work will only concentrate on newspapers in order to out the press converge of 2015 Budget padding controversy in the National Assembly between the year 2015 and 2016, stating why press freedom could help in an in-depth and truthful news information on people, government, event, etc. when there is freedom of press, individuals will have no option than to express themselves through the media, exposing many untold ills of the society. The press is free for anyone who has something meaningful to share to the public. So, the misconception that freedom of press is for the media only must be corrected. In other words, the printing press invented the Johannes Gutenberg in 1446 ushered in the modern publishing Johannes that has so captured the interest of the reading class of the public, who now sources for news information on newspapers, to gain more knowledge of truth behind the truth. Newspapers perform the function of interpreting news information to their busy readers who are no more satisfied with straight jacket news reporting. In essence, newspaper provides wider varieties of news and information than any other medium of mass communication, because it is a solid medium of information with evidence. According to Anaeto and Adebayo (2007) presents that: “Newspapers essentially contains news and information to make the public aware of issues and events around them. News is a piece of information about a significant and recent event that affects newspaper readers and is of interest to them. News is important because it satisfies our curiosity concerns and provides us with basic facts that enable us make up our minds, thereby joining the general discussion”.
They further say that newspaper stimulates, motivates, interprets, inspires, builds, excites, satisfies and sometimes disappoints. It could mean that press coverage of news information must not be 100% dependable which may be true, but most times, newspaper is the only avenue of getting news behind the news, and must not be reached out even though it sometimes disappoints.
Nevertheless, the breaking news on Budget padding of December 2, 2015, in much rumours and media headlines and called for the Intervention Economic and Financial Crime (EFCC) who checked into the issue and did their vey best for the country to remain calm, thus, giving the researcher a more good reasons to find out, between the two newspapers “The Nation and Daily Sun”, who reported more on the issue of Budget padding controversy.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Over the years, the issue of Budget Padding has paid public’s attentions in Nigeria, news information on the press coverage on Budget Padding controversy has pained much prominence that even people at the grassroots have gained interest in the matter so far.
We have been tented unjustly to the story of Budget Padding and how it will benefit the masses if the budget was well planned and executed. In recent times, instead of government of the day, fulfilling their campaign promises, of food, roads, health care services, electricity and improvement in our education system, corruption has frown in it leap and bounds, more padding of budgets, fuel hikes, high cost of commodities, hunger and starvation to mention no more has been the order of the day.
This research work raises concerns like: between the variables “The Nation and Daily Sun Newspapers, which paper pay more prominence to the coverage of budget padding in the National Assembly, what is the frequency of their reportage, what are the parameters of its reportage as to editorials, letters to editors, opinions, features stories, articles, etc. relating to the public’s reactions on budget padding controversy in Nigeria, whose paper reported widely and in-depthly which of the paper is more credible, exact and dependable in its reports.
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The following were the objectives of the study:
- Know the percentage of press coverage on (editorials, letters to the editors, opinions, feature stories, articles and commentaries of the budget padding controversy, as reported by the Nation and Daily Sun Newspapers).
- Streamline between the Nation and Daily Sun Newspapers, which report is more credible and dependable.