The Impact Of Commercialization Of Broadcast Media On Government Owned Media Organisation (A Case Study Of FRCN Enugu)

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

The Impact Of Commercialization Of Broadcast Media On Government Owned Media Organisation (A Case Study Of FRCN Enugu)


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background Of The Study

Commercialization simply  put is an attempt by media houses on any enterprise for matter to operate on the principle of commercialized enterprise seek to earn money from  their operator s by making reasonable profit to keep the business without turning to any body financially assistance .

For the media (electronic media) its major source of revenue  sterns from advertisement and sponsored commercial for production and institutions often  these adverts  AND COMMERCIALs are paid for by identified sponsors.

Understandably, the broadcast media need regular funding to manage their expensive equipment. More importantly is their independence to perform credibly well without undue influence from patrons. However, apart from the profit motive without which  the  media cannot exist is its social responsibility functions to the society. Perhaps, this, this is the driving force behind the establishment of the broadcast media in Nigeria. Among its numerous functions to the society the broadcast media have the  responsibility of mobilization, agenda  building and opinio0n formation, educating entertaining and creating an informal citizenry through objective and credibility coverage and reportage of event in form of news.

All these responsibilities are contained in the concepts of news value as discussed by Curtis D. Mac Dougal in his book” Interpretative reporting” his concepts of news value include timelessness, proximity, prominence, consequences and human interest. Proximity bothers on closeness of the event to the media of broadcast readers and listeners are more  interested in happenings around them. Prominence tells us that importance and well-known people makes more news to the general than people who are less known.

Consequence deals on what happens after news has been reported. Human interest holds that people pay more attention to news that affect them both more attention to news that affect them both positively and negatively. Today, these journalistic criteria  are giving way  a situation where by important developments, especially in the country side are pushed aside by unimportant events and the activities of personalities ( Mac bride  report 1980).

This practice tagged “ The impact of  commercialization of broadcast media, as distinct from advertising in the media, negates all fundamental principles of fairness, equity and balance required in journalist principles. This situation has persisted in violation of the code established by the National Broadcasting commission (NBC). The  Nigeria Broadcasting commission the legal body which governs broadcasting in Nigeria, states among others 1 chapter 2 section 7 of its code that;

  1. All news reports shall be represented accurately and impartially.
  2. Programmes devoted to the discussion of controversial public affairs shall ensure fairness and balance of views.
  3. Commercials in news and public affairs programmes shall be placed and presented in a manner that shall make them clearly distinguishable from the content.

Unknown to many perhaps, is the fact that not all news stories, commentaries and analysis they hear these days on radio and water on television are selected or used purely because, media had diminished considerably, paving way to a situation whereby access to the  media (radio/television) is guaranteed by how much money one offers to the media. Editors gate keeping functions also restricted since news paid for is usually not edited.

The audience thus receives such rapid for news are pure news rather than advertisement. Commercialization of broadcast media is one of the recent but dangerous development in the Nigeria media industry dating from 1988, unfortunately, the trend has persisted up-till now, when the  largely poor and illiterate masses are seeking new expanded ways t make the government to be aware of the opinion, needs, grievances and most importantly, makes themselves communicatively interactive with the public media ( Uchenna, Ekwo 1996). So in this research undertaking, the researcher shall examine critically the implications of commercialization of broadcast media on government owned media organization with emphasis on federal radio corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Enugu.

The overall impact on government owned media organization  and also the genesis of the phenomenon in the Nigerian media shall be X-rayed. Also to be discussed is how commercialization of broadcast media has encouraged the “Brown envelop” syndrome and reduced or denied those who cannot pay access to the media.

The research will also make an attempt to ascertain how broadcast media commercialization reduce or affect  the gate keeping functions of editors. The research and defining shall also offer recommendations to this unethical invasion of the broadcast media in Nigeria.


1.2 Statement Of The Research Problem

Commercialization of broadcast media has  been a subject of criticism and skeptism in Nigeria. This is to an extent because of government ownership of about 90% of the electronic media in Nigeria. As a result, the audience perceived news from such media as sponsored and censored  by government. However, the emergence of private radio and television stations has positively improved audience perception of broadcast news.

But as earlier stated in the background of the study of this  research poor economic situation and emphasis on profit maximization as against society has led the broadcast media to engage in news commercialization. The argument there is that the commercialization of broadcast media has undermined news value because attempt by the media to generate revenue has been blind  folded their activities as the watchdog of the society.

This ugly trend has impacted negatively to the activities of the broadcast media. The guidance both suspecting and unsuspecting cannot differentiate paid news from real news. News worthiness is no longer judged by journalistic criteria but rather, it is influenced by how much one can pay for the news.

The research aims at ascertaining the impact of commercializing the broadcast media as  it regards FRCN Enugu through objective reporting. Audience perception of broadcasting can be positive only when unethical practices in the media are eradicated. Commercialization of broadcast media owned by government breeds “Brown envelope syndrome” restricted  the editors functions and discredits the media. It constitutes and barrier to the democratization of communication blocks the free access to the media and xcerts control on the interactivity of the various audience speaking to a nonaligned  meeting in New Delhi in 1984, Mustapha Masmoudi of Tunisia said “ We are witnesses to ruthless. Commercialism combined with permanent cultural aggression, which compromises out economy undermines our social traditions and alienates our children.

The powerful are always right. “ It is time the voice of the weak were heard” ( Heste et al (1986). The research work is intended to find out how these problems stemming from commercialization of government owned broadcast media affects the society audience perception of broadcasting audience participating rights in the broadcast media and  perhaps, looks at the gains ( if any)of broadcast media commercialization and the genesis of this phenomenon in the Nigerian Broadcast media.


1.3 Objective Of The Study

The main objective of this research is to determine the impact of commercialization of broadcast media owned by government. The study also aims at ascertaining audience perception of commercializing the broadcast media, if they ( the audience) are aware that most of the news the listen to and view are paid for, but are presented to them as news selected purely for its worthiness.

The study also intends to find out how the editors gate keeping functions are restricted since most news paid for are not edited and this affects the audience. The research also seeks to spell out the advantages of commercial peers, commercial news and real news selected for its news worthiness.


1.4 Significance Of The Study

It is a universal truism that the hallmark of  journalism is fact funding and fact giving that is; dissemination of the facts gathered. In short, it is also that about truth-telling hence in the words of Ekwo uchenna, every journalist must know that the public i.e entitled to the truth and that only truth information can form the basis for sound journalism and ensure the confidence of the people” and that is  the first item in the code of conduct for journalists. It is only in this way that the journalists will justify  their social responsibility towards the public. At this stage of our development and considering in particular the  present  political ear and econom9ic crisis the flow of information must be free and unimpeded. The journalist diction that facts are sacred but opinion are free must be respected.

This study is of much importance because it will serve as a are reference framework on which commercilzation of broadcast media owned by government  could be based on. This study will enable the audience to expose themselves to the productions of the broadcast media, with the knowledge that not all news they listen to are sponsored as the regards federal corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Enugu.

Research on commerclization of broadcast media owned by the government had shown that it affects their credibility. This study as an added research work will encourage broadcast media owners  to design viable scheme to generate fund and stop or minimize total commercialization.

Finally, the study will enlighten the public/ audience mind on commercialization of government owned broadcast media and how it affects them in general.


1.5 Research Question

The researcher will try to give answer to the following research questions.

  1. Has  commercialization of broadcast  media owned by government hindered the objectivity of reporters in federal radio corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Enugu?
  2. Are the audience aware that some news in the broadcast industry (FRCN) is paid for?
  3. Are the gate keeping functions of the editors commercialization of broadcast media owned by the government?
  4. Does commercialization of broadcast media owned by the government have consequence (s) on citizen’s right?
  5. Has commercialization of broadcast media owned by government denied those who cannot pay access to (FRCN) Enugu?
  6. Has commercialization affected credibility in (FRCN) Enugu?

1.6 Research Hypothesis ( Including The Hull Hypothesis)

The researcher will put some hypothesis, based on already established research question to test in this study. Null hypothesis are also used so as to balance the situations before looking for their differences.

  1. Hi:  Commercialization of broadcast media owned by government hinder the objective of reporters in (FRCN) Enugu.
    Ho: Commercialization of broadcast media owned by government tends not to hinder the  objective of reporters in (FRCN) Enugu.
  2. H2: The audience are not aware that some news in the broadcast industry (FRCN) Enugu are  paid for.
    HO: The audience are aware that some news in the broadcast industry (FRCN) Enugu are paid for.
  3. H3: Commercialization tends to reduce the gate keeping functions of the editors in (FRCN) Enugu.
    Ho: Commercialization does not reduce the gate keeping functions of the editors in (FRCN) Enugu.
  4. H4: Commercialization of (FRCN) Enugu tends to infringe on the citizens rights.
    HO: Commercialization of (FRCN) Enugu as a government owned broadcast media tends not to infringe on the citizen rights.
  5. H5: Commercialization of (FRCN) Enugu tends to deny those who cannot pay access to the media.
    Ho: Commercialization of (FRCN) Enugu tends not to deny those who cannot pay access to the media.
  6. H6: Commercialization affects the credibility of federal Radio corporation of Nigeria  (FRCN) Enugu.
    Ho: Commercialization does not affect the credibility of  Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Enugu.

1.7 Definition Of Terms

Conceptual and operational definition .

The terms used in this study have to be properly defined both conceptually and operationally.
The conceptual definition of the terms involves the ordinary literal meaning while the operational definitions involves the specific representations of the terms . in other words, operational definition are the working definitions for the study.

The following have thus been identified:

i. Brown Envelop:
Conceptual Definition

The act of giving out money as gift or bribe to any one to gain favour.

Operational Definition

Audience perception that the media receive money or bribe from news sponsor or source thereby stering them from performing their duty properly with objectivity.

ii. Commercialization
Conceptual Definition

A process whereby money is made out from something inform of sales.

Operational Definition

A process whereby the broadcast media make money out of news. They do this by selling time for news instead of reporting news for its worthiness.

iii. Credibility
Conceptual Definition

Credibility is something which can be believed.

Operational Definition.

Audience acceptance or believability of news contents in the broadcast media.

iv. Gate Keeping
Conceptual Definition

Any person that stays at the gate and watches over a house

Operational Definition

Audience perception of the medias ability to limit information, delete irrelevant parts of news stories and also to expand them before getting to the audience.


1.8 Assumptions

The researcher base his assumptions on the old saying that “ he who pays the piper dictates the tune” this is so because, it is assumed that the broadcast media, which is supposed to act as a watching is tamed.
This is to say that the activities of (FRCN) Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Enugu is often influence and manipulated by the government rather than the broadcast media operating under the ethics of profession. The government dictates to the media how the news is to be dished out thereby making the media to lose its credibility (FRCN) Enugu. News is broadcast to satisfy the sponsors ( Government) Irrespective of its worthiness.

The study also assumes the efficiency is lost due to the effect (s) of the brown envelop which is given to and received by reporters to cover stories to suit the sponsors ( government). Also access to the media by those cannot greatly reduced as the study assumes. Therefore, the opinion and /or conditions of the less priviledged cannot be aired because such cannot pay. Their contributions to the society development are neglected thus, the researcher also assume that the distinction between commercials and commercial news is not clearly plated thereby making it difficult for the audience to differentiate between the two.


1.9 Limitations Of The Study

Due to changed in the academic calendar of institute of management and technology (IMT) also lack of time and funds the study will be limited to Enugu Metropolis. Therefore, the findings of the study would be generalized for residents of Enugu metropolis.

The study one the impact of commercialization of broadcast media in government owned media organizations. A case study of FRCN Enugu is one important aspect of FRCN Enugu is one important aspect of the medias in which sufficient work is yet to be carried out. Hence the research cannot claim absolute confidence on the study but at coast it would from a good reference framework for future study on the topic.


The Impact Of Commercialization Of Broadcast Media On Government Owned Media Organisation (A Case Study Of FRCN Enugu)


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