Impact Of News Commercialization On Management Of Broadcast Media In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

Impact Of News Commercialization On Management Of Broadcast Media In Nigeria


Abstract


This research project examines the implication of news commercialization on management of broadcast media in Nigeria with emphasis on NTA Enugu.

Thus, the issue at stake on this topic is to find out what impact does news commercialization has on the mass audiences even when media claims to be the watch dog of the society. Therefore, media should be ready to accept the dangers posed by news commercialization and such dangers include media questions on objectivity, professionalism, and fairness now being undermined by limited access to news airtime.

The educationist, sociologist, politicians, the businessmen and eve the religions minded are all interested in this debate. In this research I decided to use survey research method ascertain the validity of various hypothesis formulated. The result of this research will useful to students of mass communication media experts, government and the society at large.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

The advert of broad casting in Nigeria was ushered in, in 1932 with the empire services transmitted from the British broadcasting Co- operation, (BBC) in Daventry, England, to entertain and inform the colonial masters.

Also Stella –Joan Ebo (1994:43-44), further stated t5hat Nigeria station began experiment with rediffusion sets. Then the Nigeria posts and telegraphs department was authorized to work out plans for the distribution o0f programmers to subscribers in Lagos, Kano and Ibadan.

It was in the phase of this that brought about the establishment of broadcast media outfit both Radio and television in Nigeria which Nigeria television authority (NTA) Enugu was one of them.

Even since the inception of broadcast media in the country, ownership pattern shows that investment into the establishment of the industry was the exclusive preserve of the federal and state governments in Nigeria. This is the reason why NTA is owned both at federal level and state level.

That is to say that prior to decree 38 of 1992, no private ownership was allowed in Nigeria. But before then, t5hye down turn in the economy of this great nation brought with it certain changes. Some of these changes were mostly stringent, that various government were always decrying, lack of money to prosecute their programmes.

Electronic media organizations which NTA Enugu is one of them is not exempted from-the area government was finding difficult to spend the organization that can fund them if given the enabling resources.

Then, the government of general Ibrahim Babangida through the amended decree No 25 of 1988 empowered the media organization to commercial broadcasting through which they would be augmenting the meager subvention that subsequently be coming from government. News stories put out by Nigeria television authority (NTA) Enugu with implicit confidence, the channel enjoyed high credibility rating from them.

However, some serious questions readily come to mind at this juncture. With the introduction of news commercialization as a measure of improving the financial standing of the organization, have news producers remained objective? Does the channel still enjoy the confidence of the audience? Does it still maintain the audience level it had before news commercialization?

How has this more affected the ethics of the profession, and the newsworthiness of some of the materials that are include in the news packages. What is the current credibility rating of the station. Does it generate substantial amount from commercial news stories to justify its maintenance as a veritable source of income to it. Has this move not limited through news packages.

News commercialization has affected the principle of news packages as a humanitarian service. This has led the sponsors of news stories having some measures of control over the station. This they do through the understanding that their news stories take precedence over unpaid ones. As stated by Raph Efiong (1999:70) the implication of commercializing news in the Nigeria media has effect on the media credibility and consequences on the citizens participatory rights in the communication media.


1.2 Objectives of the Study

It is pertinent to find out in this study to substantiate that news commercialization is unethical. It has caused out news producer to be packaging some material that are not news worthy as news stories. Also it has affected adversely the way and manner in which out reporters go in search of news stories. Their manner of searching for news has been constrained by the fact that some stories would have to be paid for. So any new story which has commercial value and which is not paid for is usually dropped. They are also affected by the fact that news stories, which have paid for, would attract more prominence and detail than stories not paid for.

This due to the drastically reduction of subvention from the federal government to the media organization, the broadcast media organization now embark on various ways of generating now additional find to enable them run their stations.

As planning and execution continued in most of the broadcast stations. They discovered that before they can ever generate what is near to the amount that can be enough to supplement their meager subvention, they would have to market almost all their programmes. It is on this understanding that news programmes were not left out, rather, they were also commercialized.

Therefore, with news commercialization the media organizations started to charge money to go on coverage and writing of some news items. The media management now sees as a commodity, much like advertising that can be traded for profit. But, also, how can this commercialization trend be ranged against societal information needs? If the broadcast media air only paid news, what will this mean to media professionalism and much need social surveillance? The foregoing, thus, forms the basis of this study.


1.3 Statement of Research Problem

Broadcast media managers are well aware of their essential roles in society. They have been tutu red according to the best strategies to Manage Social Information. They are conversant with societal information needs. These forms their guidelines in Managing media resources to produce media sole offering –information.

Initially the production of news package in Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Enugu, was based on the principle of items that are newsworthy. Also it was guided by what is ethical in journalism profession and according to the house style of the organization.

The producers of new packages would then go out to cover an assignment, and when they return they would write news stories objectively. They were always careful not to include in their news stories materials that were based on wrong news principles. Also they avoided writing or converting some stories to be newsworthy. As the guidance perceived the news stories put out by Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Enugu with implicit confidence, the channel enjoyed high credibility rating from them.

However, some serious questions readily come to mind at this juncture. With the introduction of news commercialization as a measure of improving the financial standing of the organization, have news producers remained objective?

Does the channel still enjoy the confidence of the audience? Does it still maintain the audience level it had before news commercialization?

How has this more affected the ethics of the profession, and the newsworthiness of some of the materials that are included in the news packages. What is the current credibility rating of the station. Does it generate substantial amount from commercial news stories to justify its maintenance as a veritable source of income to it. Has this move not limited the amount of news information that are disseminated to the consumers through news packages.

Mews commercialization has affected the principle of news packages as a humanitarian service. This has led the sponsors of news stories having some measures of control over he station. This they do through the understanding that their news stories take precedence over unpaid ones.

As stated by Raph Efiong (1999:70) the implication of commercializing news in the Nigeria media has effect on the media credibility and consequences on the citizens participatory rights in the communication media.


1.3 Objectives of the Study:

It is pertinent to find out in this study to substantiate that news commercialization is unethical. It has caused out news producers to be packaging some materials that are not news worthy as news stories. Also it has effected adversely the way and manner in which out reporters go in search of news stories. Their manner of searching for news has been constrained by the fact that some stories would have to be paid for. So any news story which has commercial value and which is not paid for is usually dropped. They are also affected by the fact that news stories, which have paid for, would attract more prominence and detail than stories not paid for.


1.4 Significance of the Study:

The aim of this study is to bring to the notice of the management the impact of their decision to engage in news commercialization.

They will realize that their news packages are not enjoying the confidence of their audience. Also they will have to know that they have not been disseminating adequate amount of information their audience members are expecting through their news packages. The management will later understand that this condition has adversely affected their credibility rating.

The journalists will realize the importance of maintaining their professional standard in mews coverage and writing of news stories.

While on the other hand, the audience will start to receive the type of news stories they have been expecting from Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Enugu.

However, this will only become possible if the management rescinds its policy of news commercialization.


1.5 Research Questions

  1. Does news commercialization affect negatively the level of confidence the audience have in Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Enugu News packages.
  2. Does news commercialization affect negatively the standard of writing news stories in Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Enugu.
  3. What is the attitude of news producers to the idea of news commercialization.
  4. Is Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Enugu enjoying low level of audience viewer ship as a result of the news commercialization.
  5. Does the preparation of news commercials lead the news producers into engaging in unethical processes.

1.6 Research Hypothesis

  1. HO The policy of commercialization of news in Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Enugu, as a means of enhancing finances, has not in any way adversely affected the objectivity of news producers in news writing.
    H1 News commercialization as a means of enhancing the financial standing of Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Enugu, has adversely affected the objectivity of news producers in news writing.
  2. Ho News commercialization in NTA Enugu has not contributed to the low credibility rating they enjoy.
    H1 The credibility rating of NTA Enugu has reached an all time low as a result of the news commercialization.
  3. Ho Commercial news stores in NTA Enugu, do not usually displace humanitarian service news stories
    H1 Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Enugu commercial news stories usually displace news stories that are humanitarian service.
  4. Ho Finances that come into the channel via news commercialization justify the continued maintenance of news commercialization policy there.
    H1 Incomes that accrue to the station through news commercials are not substantial enough to justify the maintenance of commercialization of news.

1.7 Definition of Terms

Conceptual and Operational Definition

It is very important that the meaning of the topic at state is registers in the mind of the readers that is why I decided to simplify for better comprehension/clarity.

News:

News or fresh information is reports of what has recently happened.

Commercialization:

Financed by charges made for commercialization advertisement in programmes.

Impact:

A powerful effect that something has on a situation or person.

Management:

The action or manner of managing or control of things or persons.

Media:

It is something acting as an intermediate in sound between the aspirates and the tenures.

Broadcasting:

This is electronic transmission of radio and television Signals designed for public consumption.

Operational Definition
Commercialization:

Commercialization of news in this context means running or managing of mass media with a view of making profit through information dissemination.

Management:

This is the act of Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing & controlling of something or persons. For instance in media organization such as Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Enugu.

Impact:

This is the effect which something or force that hit on a thing has for that. Thus, it is the effect which commercialization of news has on the audience.

News:

This is timely report, facts and opinion that has interest or importance or both on a considerable number of people.


1.8 Assumptions

It is assumed that news commercialization will make the media to be class oriented. Because only those who can afford to pay will be heard while majority who are poor will not, thereby making it a case of he who pays the piper dictates the tune.

From the above, it is assumed that the listener ship /viewer ship will fail because that appeals to the majority are not telecasted neither area they given a look at.

The vast majority of people in the rural areas shall be left out because they cannot pay for their effectiveness.
Commercial news stories normally displace humanitarian news stories.

It is equally assumed that the reason while the media NTA decided to involve in commercialization of news policy is because of financial problem facing it.


Limitations of Study

This research work is limited to NTA Enugu due to financial/constraints.

Time is another factor that is not in my side to enable me carryout similar research in other states of the country.

However, conscious effort will be made to carryout this study to the required standard that will make it a reliable and dependable one. This is because I intend to base this study on data correctly supplied by the respondents.


Chapter Five


Summary and Recommendation for Further Study

5.1 Summary

This research work is concerned with impact of news commercialization on management of broadcast media in Nigeria a case study of Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Enugu.

The analysis of the data contained in the questionnaires given the media practitioners unveiled the following information:-

  1. That the under privileged in the society are not given the opportunity to contribute meaningfully and partake in issues that affect their well being in the mass media.
  2. News commercialization is a retrogressive exercise, which only enable the patronage of few in the society rather than every member of the society.

That news commercialization impeded journalist from performing their social responsibility equitably.

I observed that lower funding is one of the major contributing factors that forced Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Enugu to embrace commercialization. Since NTA workers are not regularly paid, they resorted into various means of sustaining their livelihood.

The audience axiom gave credence to them (audience) determining what should be telecast. An ancient axiom gave credence to this “He who pays the piper dictates the tune”. Program lacking in quality and news elements in all it’s ramification are deemed to viewers because the body and soul must be kept together.

Nigerian Television Authority NTA Enugu also lacks modern equipment and personnel to enable it produce quality programs for telecast. Much energy is dissipated chasing money and sponsors rather than producing educating enlightenment programmes that could turn around the illiterate and superstitions audience.

Government of the third world countries which Nigeria is among see themselves as countries still waking up from the dawns of their colonial investors, it motivated the third world countries to clamor for development or issue rather than the negative to make room for development.

Unfortunately, Nigerian government now embarks on cover-up of their lapses, rather than dictating the theory.
Journalist who are bold enough to report this sordid affair, molested tortured and imprisoned, in some cases eliminated for venturing into areas purported to be sacred and sensitive in the name of National Development.

This factor coupled with stringent laws and decrees constantly rolled out by government silenced opinion of journalist on issues of utmost importance affecting our well being.

Democratization of the mass media, monopoly of idea through political actions, restrictive professional practical should be avoided. Every member of the society should be encouraged to contributed opinion and idea as to move.
Thus, proper time should be allocated to commercials to enable the audience distinguish when they are listening to paid views, news facts and fiction rather than the present operations of information by deceit.


5.2 Recommendations for Further Study

I recommend that similar research can be carried out in other parts of the country, Northern parts, Southern and especially the Western parts of the country where there are high number of media practitioners and equally media house.

This will give the country an over view on the effects of commercialization of news in the country.
Financial constraint and time factor indeed hindered my progress to other areas. Similar research work should also be carried out in other countries in Africa; Asia and Europe in other to come out with a global comprehensive information on commercialization of news and challenges of the social responsibilities of the mass media in the world.


5.3 Conclusion

I have attempted to look at the concept of news commercialization challenges of mass media from various cases and expert opinion.

News commercialization policy has done more good than harm to the industry incredibility, which the watchword of any journalist is now an issues of past, objective. Expertise and attractiveness of source of information is no longer information. The thing is how much money one can offer the media; news is now narrowly defined against the weight of the news sources purse.

This excess influence of advertising in the editorial policy should be checked, this conditions of journalist nor enable media owners to acquire sophisticated media tools to enhance their service.

No doubt commercialization of news is a challenge to the survival of the media, journalist should not teach them their job by dictating what should be news by their monetary influence.

Communication should be compared to a thermostat which raise or reduce temperature by providing scientific explanation to societal problems holding out rewards to those that excess in the society and speeding up development by permitting change.

How well are we prepared to stir this society forward for these generations to generations unborn on our hands, let us address this commercialization policy news before it grows larger than the society. The only way out is by democratization of the mass media, this will give everyone; the poor, rich, big and small enough avenue to express views unimpeded for betterment of the society.


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