Effect Of Military Dictatorship On The Nigeria Mass Media

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

Effect Of Military Dictatorship On The Nigeria Mass Media


Abstract


Media industry contributed positively towards the up-liftment of socialization in Nigeria.

This project work is bold step into media industry structure and then contribution to the nation at large. Several aspect of the media were analyzed. Important aspect of the media and problems that are believed to be hindering the social responsibility of the Nigeria mass media under military dictatorship were also looked into.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

There is the belief in some quarters that the Nigerian press under the military regime is characterized by the “Praise signing syndrome” of the Nigeria society. Some other critics say that Nigeria are strange among praise singers, accusers and sympathizer. When a government is in power people sing praises of the administration even in the face of glaring inefficiency of the public office holders.

On January 15, 1966 when the first military regime came into power, the late Major General J.T.U Agnyi Ironsi was eulogized for establishing a military government based on group of principles. When Ironsi was killed in July 1966 counter coup, he was described by one Newspaper columnist who was one of the most local adherent of the Ironsi administration as “A hard drinking general whose administration lacked a sense of direction.

In Gwon’s leadership he was praised flattered and worshipped. It is mentors and adviser referred to him as “God given leader” However when the revolutionary coup d etat by the late General Murtala mohammed swept Gwon out of Dodan Barracks. The same praise singers turned around to call the former God given leader such un complimentary names as Wanted man” frigitive offender” and so on

The Murtala/Obansanjo regime which handed over power to the civilian was accused of painlessness without Nigerians knowing that the successor of that regime would be on epitome of painlessness. Graft and squander mania

Again in December 31, 1984 another coup d’etal which saw major General Mohammed Buhari as the head of state and commander in chief of the armed forces of the federal republic of Nigeria came to pass with the coup, expectation of Nigeria including individuals organization and educational institution become high.

The Nigerian press as the spokes man of the people maintained ands echoed the expectations of the regime. That was another movement of looking back to what the situation was before the military came in. expressing the people’s view and opinion as to what the new military administration would do.

The print media came up with editorial features, articles, opinion columns and cartoon on the military administration. The regime never lived up to the expectation of Nigeria and was flattered by the press thereafter.

On August 07, 1985 the Nigerian mass media sang another praise song and was flattered condemning the Buhari/Idiagbor led regime. Which was ousted by the Babangida regime.

Before long in 1993 August 27, when Babangida relinquished power to the Ernest Shonekan headed national interim government of Nigeria following the annulment of |June 1993 presidential election. The Babangider regime had its own condemnation by the Nigeria mass media.

The Abacha’s regime was with praises when it took over powers from Ernest Shonekan led interim national Government

These initial praises of the press to the change of government was significant especially when a mouth piece of the people, the press has followed with bewilderment, the defunct Shonekan led Nigeria as it deteriorated.

This is to say that the press, especially Nigeria newspapers saw the fall of the Shonekan led Nigeria coming and therefore has the most privileged opportunity to react the way they did when the military regime of General Abacha came to power. And the regime on the other hand humiliated the press by arresting, detaining and killing press men and even closing down media at will.

Yet the Nigerian mass media kept on their numerous task of publishing government activities and policies as well as making their stand or opinion on certain issues or actions of the government known. The Abdulsalam Abubakar’s regime was not an exception. The media praised him through out its nine month reign, but when it succeeded by civil rule in may 29, 1999, the media changed the tone of their praise to that of condemnation. Though not in totality but in areas of financial management.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

This study, bearing in mind that the treatment meted on the Nigeria press and the alleged praise singing culture of the Nigerian press intend to look into the performance of the Nigerian press in the military regime vis-à-vis the effect of military regime on the Nigeria mass media.

Before delving into this study, it would be pertinent to look into the relationship of the Nigerian mass media and the military regime. Under which they operate. The relationship if one would say has not been all that cordial and if one should cite an example it has been unbearable.

For a press 9or mass media) to perform its social responsibilities as the watch dog of the society it should be free from extreme government control and censorship and whereby (the press) does not enjoy that freedom from excess government control and censorship. It cannot perform its social responsibility role very well.

Lazarus field (1953) asserted that for a press to be considered free, private owners and independent journalist should be free to supply news and opinions to the general public and under statutes of table and decency which are applicable to every one and not capable of arbitral and discriminatory interpretation by the ruling power.

In defining the concept “Freedom of the press” (which is now assumed as the corner stone for social responsibility of the mass media) the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe in 1978 said that if (freedom of the press) expresses a denotation and implies a connotation. Denotatively, he said that it is the right to print any thing and the right to publish any printed matter. These include the right to obtain, impact and disseminate information or ways contained in printed matter.

Connotatively, he said that the concept takes with consideration, an implication that in any democratic society the exercise of any right is not absolutely but relative. Therefore implies according Azikwe, freedom of the press implies the right to obtain, impact or covey ideas or information through the medium of the pres and other mass media. And it would be important to look into freedom of the press (in Nigeria) under military regimes. It is widely agreed that Nigeria is one of the countries in the world that has been extensively ruled by Khaki boys” hence her press has also been controlled extensively by the boys. By the forgoing it is also agreed that military government in the country have not created an environment for the press to perform its watch doggery and voice of the voiceless roles. It ranges from harassment to assassination of pressmen and incessant closure of media houses.

This has made the profession resemble practice of walking on a tight rope one where by any wrong step would lead its practitioners into trouble. Ekwelle (1970) recognized this fact when he stated that the Nigeria press during military regimes operate under difficulties

Utoni (1981) also share the opinion that the Nigerian press has suffered grievously at the hands of the military according to him “Physical harassment of journalists and appointment and removal of government controlled newspaper and the most chronicled forms of restraints to press performance arising from any press interaction”

From all indication the Nigeria mass media here suffered a lot in the hand so the ruling powers especially the military dictators, and this has been responsibly for the praise singing syndrome which the media has been accused of.

Following this, its social responsibility under military dictatorship it questioned yet the mass media forged on and with the accusation leveled against the media the subsequent harassments arrest and detention and their closure, the media have woken up to the challenges, hence it is a ting-of-war between them and military dictators

We shall however, exerted by the military dictators on the media, which encourages the praise singing syndrome and in certain cases the practice of revolutionary journalism


1.3 Significance of the Study

This study is very important as it mirrors down the treatment meted on the mass media and their practitioners by military dictators including their agents. It is as well important as it bring to line right or exposes those aspiring to go into the profession on what they expect in the course of engaging themselves in the profession.

For the students, it is beneficial for them too, plus media practitioners themselves, government parastatals and its agencies and humanitarian organizations for the purpose of regulating the unbridled control of the military on the media.


1.4 Objective of the Study

Following the harassment arrest, detention (without trial) and subsequent closure of most media houses in recent times around the nation. I decide to write this topic to assess the kind of relationship that is going on between the Nigeria mass media under the military regime. In which they operate in. it is though this that we can develop modalities to find out if the media has been able to meet up with social responsibility which is expected of them of their various audience.


1.5 Research Question

  1. Does freedom of the press exist in Nigerian.
  2. Does the Nigeria mass media practitioners perform their duties without hitches as the watch dog of the society
  3. Does the treatment meted on media practitioners and some media houses make the profession more challenging and worthwhile.
  4. Mass media practitioners are often harassed, arrested, beat and even detained why
  5. Is the Nigeria mass media socially responsible.

1.6 Hypotheses

  1. H1: Freedom of the press exists in Nigeria
    Ho: Freedom of the press does not exist in Nigeria
  2. H2: The Nigerian mass media practitioners perform their duties without hitches as the watch dog of the society.
    Ho: The Nigerian mass media practitioners do not perform their duties without hitches as the watch dog of the society.
  3. H3: The treatment meted on media practitioners and some media houses make the profession more challenging and worthwhile
    Ho: The treatment meted on media practitioners and some media houses does not make the profession challenging and worthwhile.
  4. H4: Mass media practitioners are often harassed, arrested, beaten and even detained
    Ho: Mass media practitioners are not often harassed, arrested, beaten and detained.
  5. H5: The Nigerian mass media operate under the social responsibility theory
    Ho: The Nigeria mass media do not operate under the social responsibility theory.

1.7 Definition of Terms: Conceptual and Operational

Harassments, Arrest, And Detention:

This means to trouble, worry and size by authority of power and convict one of offence and keep the person in a place for a short period of time.

Military Dictatorship:

The armed forced who rule with absolute authority

Praise Singing:

Praise of administration with enthusiasm

Syndrome:

The Nigeria mass media is accused of showering praises on the government

Free Freedom:

This is a concept of the press which indicate relative absence of government interferences on the media of mass communication.

Social Responsibility:

This is a theory of mass communication which suggest that the press or media of mass communication should be responsible or accountable to the society alone and no other person or body. In other words, they are responsible for whatever public they make


1.8 Limitation of the Study

The research work is limited to Enugu metropolis. This is as a result of some of the problems encountered in the course of this research.

As a result of lack of finance for mobility to sample the opinions of people resident in the whole country and enough time to do the research work thoroughly I had to limit my study within Enugu and its environs.

Notwithstanding, if another research is carried out in future with enough time and finance I think the research would be able to come out with a result more better than this.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

This work examines the effect of military rule on the mass media , Media industry contributed positively towards the up-lift of socialization in Nigeria. This project work is bold step into media industry structure and then contribution to the nation at large. Several aspect of the media were analyzed. Important aspect of the media and problems that are believed to be hindering the social responsibility of the Nigeria mass media under military dictatorship were also looked into.

The findings shows that;

  • That freedom of the press don’t exist in Nigeria
  • That mass media practitioners don’t perform their duties without hitches as a watch dog in the society.
  • Mass media are often harassed, arrested, beat and even detained.
  • Treatment meted on media practitioners and some media houses make the profession more challenging and worthwhile.
  • Nigeria mass media are not socially responsible.

5.2 Conclusion and Recommendation

Mass media in Nigeria under the military rule suffer a lot challenges during reporting and media coverage, the human rights reforms introduced by the Nigerian authorities did nothing to end the harassment and intimidation of journalists working for the independent press or to establish an institutional and legal framework which properly safeguards media freedom. Since 1996, even the pretence of commitment to reform appears to have been abandoned. Media Rights Agenda and ARTICLE 19 call upon the Nigerian Government, even at this late stage, publicly to commit itself to a comprehensive programme of human rights reform, including with regard to media freedom. They also call upon the international community to resist all temptation to succumb to fatalism about Nigeria.

Thus recommendations were made as follows;

  1. The government should end all attacks on media organizations and those who work for them
  2. The government should embark upon a comprehensive programme of reform to safeguard human rights, including media freedom
  3. The government should undertake an urgent review of the institutional and legal framework at federal and state-levels for the regulation and control of the media
  4. The government should ensure that the new Constitution fully protects freedom of expression and information, including media freedom
  5. The government should ensure that the conditions are established for equal and impartial coverage by the media of all political viewpoints.

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