THE ROLES OF THE MASS MEDIA IN NIGERIA POLITICS

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ABSTRACT

The research study examines clearly the roles of the mass media in Nigeria politics by evaluating the functions performed by the media in the political activities. It also examines the contributions of the mass media to Nigeria politics.

The research also examines how well is the relationship between the government and the mass media in Nigeria politics, and how well do the mass media inform the public about the activities of the government and about the political activities in Nigeria.

It recommends ways to make the government to be accountable to the citizens and other things the media need to do in order to regain their lost glory.

CHAPTER ONE

1.1   INTRODUCTION

        The creation of every society depends on human presence, which means that without human presence there will be no society of any form. The human therefore exists and depend on the community.

        Communication started in oral and verbal form which later developed into human ability to present ideas by drawing on stones, cafes and later changed to reading and writing form of it.

        The ability to read and write is a significance development in the evaluation of mankind, this is because, and it makes easy storage and preservation of norms, value and simultaneously adding to the rate of intellectualism in the society. 

        No society can live or stand in unity, peace and with an “abiding faith” in its progress without people receiving positive and affirmative information about themselves and the leaders.

        The Nigeria press emerged from the nation earlier for years into representative democracy really bodied and battered. For example in the first Republic of Nigeria, the Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa’s party NPC – NCNC coalition government assumed leadership on the October 1st 1960 when Nigeria became independent.

        The Nigeria political history has been subjected to various reforms to witnessed tremendous changes over the years and can not be adequately discussed without the unique contributions of the media aimed in establishing a favourable atmosphere for a good government to operate their programmes and politics and making the government accountable to the people and thereby contributing to the crusade for good governance beneficial to the yarning and aspirations of the society.

        The Nigeria media has witnessed a tremendous revolution from an ordinary information organ for self governance to a formidable social-political force and take its rightful position in the struggle for self-survival, self-actualization and an independent egalitarian social institution. For “a society without a lively responsiveness to the facts of public life and a concern for the welfare of the community, will collapse and be ruled by an anarchy”. Without continued determination, self-recognition, and professional steadfastness, the Nigeria media has plan a niche for itself as the only search light for a good governance and long lasting democracy in the turbulent Nigeria political terrain.

1.2   STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEMS

        The main purpose of this research topic “The roles of the mass media in Nigeria politics” is to highlight the work of the media within the context of Nigeria political revolutions. The study which intends to talk about the Nigeria people, will also present us the geographical spread, tribes, customs and traditions and the diverse social cultural settings of the people.  

        The contributions of the media in harmonizing these Herculean trends in pre-independent, independence and post-independence of Nigeria periods would be critically examined and extensively narrated. The study would also explain the impact of the media toward the political development of the country and identify the constraints, tribulations, ordeals facing the media as a social institution in performing its certain functions of an inevitable channels or stations for political consciousness.

1.3   RESEARCH QUESTIONS

        The study find answers to the following questions.

1.     What are the functions of the media in political activities?

2.     What are the functions of the media in Nigeria politics?

3.     What are the contributions of the media in the politics of Nigeria?

4.     What are the challenges facing the media in reporting political clients and issues in Nigeria? How can media help to improve Nigeria politics?  

1.4   PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

        The topic of the study, “the roles of the mass media in Nigeria politics” will evaluate and investigate the roles and travails of the media practitioners in the storming Nigeria political arena. It also applies to the journalists to be aware of their professional ethics, responsibilities, certain roles, and expect any form of report in political issues and events.

The study would also enlighten the students of mass communication to the impacts of mass media in the society and the nation at large. It is aimed at finding out the opinions of the people on the expected roles of the mass media in Nigeria politics, most especially, the entrenchment of democracy and governance in Nigeria.  

1.5   SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

        The significance of the study cannot be over emphasized, because, Nigeria is the most populous black in the whole of African nations and it is recognized as the giant of Africa.

        Considering the large human and natural resources, the political transformation and revolutions witnessed by the country from the pre-colonial era up till date is one of the major hallmarks as a nation. It is also worthy to note the ever increasing political awareness and enlighten campaigns played majorly by the media. The study is rested in examining and evaluating the functions, roles and responsibilities of the media in the political development of the country in order to place the mass media in appropriate position of the forth estate of power, and taking after the executive legislature and judiciary.

        Furthermore, the roles of the media is said to be the “watchdog of the society” in relation to their status of the omnipotence universal character since the media serves as social tools for political restrictions.

        As turbulent and storming as the Nigeria political situations over the years now, the contributions of the mass media towards achieving an egalitarian society for the country through good governance can not be ignored.

        In addition, readers, researcher, students and learners would find this academic effort informative, educative, analytical and indicatively, entertaining in the course of their individual and collective endeavours most especially, while trying to identify and appreciate the institutional responsibilities of the mass media within the context of Nigeria political history.

1.6   SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

        The scope of the study covers the historical background of media activities in Nigeria politics landscape with specific emphasis selected in the past and present public and private owned media houses, radio and television stations as well as notable news magazines.

        The difficulties encountered in carrying out the research are due to inadequate and non-availability of relevant textbooks in the school library most especially on mass communication, political science and other related courses.

        Lastly, the study therefore limit our views and opinions of the staff in media houses such as radio and television stations which is the broadcast media, newspaper and magazines which is the print media, the opinions of notable individuals, professionals such as, politicians, political scientists, academicians, journalists and other relevant stakeholders.

1.7   DEFINITIONS OF KEY POINTS

        It must be understood that during the course of study, one would come across some notable key words that are relevant and judiciously used to express ideas, views and explanations. These notable key words are not strange but based on the topic “the roles of the mass media in Nigeria politics,” they need to be identified and briefly explained for easy understanding of the passage.

  • Media: It consist of all channels of mass communication which are radio, television, newspaper, magazine, journals, books, films, telephone, billboards etc. the media is categorized into two namely; the print and electronic media.
  • Politics: It is the act of science of government, the management of a political party, political affairs and opinions.
  • Politician: This refers to a member of government or law making organizations or a person versed in the science of government or a person who is interested in party politics.
  • Hero: It is a person, especially a man who is admired by many people for doing something brave or good in the society.
  • Decree: It is an official order from a ruler or a government that becomes the law or a predetermined judicial decision for a specific purpose.
  • Democracy: It is a system of government in which all the people of a country can vote to select their representative and can be voted for.
  • Editorials: Are articles in a newspaper page which express the editor’s opinion on a subject of particular interest at any given time.
  • Programmes: The things that people watch on television or listen to on the radio station to educate, entertain and inform them.
  • Challenges: Means difficult task that tests somebody’s ability and skills.
  • Constitutions: The system of law and basic principles that a state, a country or an organization is governed by

CHAPTER TWO

2.1   INTRODUCTION

        The mass media in our political system plays a critical role in the political process (Agbaje 1992, Uche 1989; Lerner and Schamm 1967; Jibo 1996; and Vulkman 1999). The nature of these roles is governed by several factors, constitutionalism; ownership structure, readership, potential/preference; pluralistic skills/integrity and the international environment for instance, the recent collapse of the Soviet Union, it was fashionable for academics and other mass media analysts to distinguish between a liberal press (Western) and an authoritarian one (Uche 1987; Uche 1996). The common distinctions made by those relating to mass media in developing  countries and those in the developed countries (Jibo 1996).

        Also, in the military system of government, the mass media act as a bridge between the people and the government. They serve as the information organ of the government on educating the public on its programmes and policies and also reporting the views and aspirations of the public (masses) back to the government. Therefore, the roles of the media become interwoven and inter-related.

THE ROLES OF THE MASS MEDIA IN NIGERIA POLITICS