Influence Of Government Ownership On Political Contents Of Broadcasting Service
This study was carried out to examine the influence of government ownership on political contents of broadcasting service using ITV Benin as a case study. Specifically, the study examined if government ownership of broadcasting affect the news objectivity and credibility of the ITV Benin. The study employed the survey descriptive research design. A total of 30 responses were validated from the survey. From the responses obtained and analysed, the findings revealed that government ownership of media affects the news objectivity and credibility of the ITV Benin. The findings also revealed that media ownership influence the editorial opinion of the ITV Benin. The study recommend government of Nigeria should give the press the freedom to exercise their rights by not influencing the report they give to the public, hence making them to maintain their objectivity and credibility.
1.1 Background of Study
Ownership structure and control of the mass media is both internal and external, since there is nucleus of inter-dependence and co-existence. There is a common saying with regards to mass media control in Nigeria and all over, which has become a clinched, the “he who pays the piper dictates the tune”. This means that the owners of a mass media channel controls what the media broadcasts and how it broadcasts it. Surely, control through ownership is a fact of life in every society, by then the nature of this control usually varies greatly, depending upon the public system, the orientation of apolitical leaders that is in control of government, the political climates prevailing, the caliber of journalists and other professional communicators. It may also be dependent of the economic situation of the mass media and their stated objectives and policies. There is also the legal control which sometimes goes beyond the ethical to include the right from an organization to be sued, if it broadcasts without permission or transmit false information etc. (2001). Previous researchers in the field of mass communication have shown that “source is the news” and the credibility and objectivity of news source influence the public perception, acceptability and used of information disseminate from such “source”. Also, the type and nature of media ownership structure determined greatly on how objective and credible a media will be. Information is now called “power” like money and authority. Mass media companies that exercises control over the information transmitted to the masses are now seen as strong forces in building public opinion. As the “fourth estate of the realm in society”, mass media organizations attract attention of almost everyone in the society.
As a result of the overbearing influence of media owners of media practice, a policy of relevance was declared in July 22-31, 1980 in Younde, Cameroon in African member states of the UNESCO of the inter-governmental conference on communication policies. The conference communiqué said: “we need a new conception of freedom such that we truly enfranchised men and society instead of subjecting them to the conditioning of both who control the powerful of communication media; such contributes to the democratization of communication and thus recognized the right of individuals and peoples to be informed and freely to express themselves”. According to Herbert Altschull, an independent press is impossible because” the news are agents of the people who exercise political and economic control”. That is to say that, no matter the benevolence of the government, or the democratic principles of the society; no matter the advancement of any society, the mass media are usually subjected to some form of control from those who hold and operates the apparatus power. Mass media ownership and its effects on different aspects of mass media performance were the subject of many studies.
This topic attracts many scholars due to importance of mass media in social life of society and its ability to affect publics. Mass media are seen as a social medium that contributes to building a strong nation, feelings of unity by transmitting values and norms in messages. However, in Nigeria today, there are three main types of media ownership; namely; federal government ownership, state government ownership and private or individual ownership. In the case of government (state and federal) ownership, the government establishes, controls and finances the media outfit, while in the case of private ownership is when an individual or a group of persons establishes, control and thus finances the outfit, while in the case of private ownerships when an individual or a group of persons or relationship between the media and the society. It is in the interest of the society to have strong and robust mass media as it is sin the between interest of the media to uphold the values and protect the interest of the interest of the society from which they drive their impulse, Support and patronage. No media on the objective of private broadcasting stations in Nigeria using I.T.V Benin as a case study.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Whatever the practice of EBS(radio) the influence of leadership and control on gate keeping are still present and if it is not handled well, it may greatly impair the success of any program, so this is what the researcher is aimed at finding. Since EBS radio is one of the state governments owned broadcasting media stations, it could be involved in state government propaganda machinery like others. This researcher has been monitoring the quality of news and programmes coming out on EBS radio and is disturbed by the level of sycophancy (praise singing) of the government that negates objective reporting, it is on this note therefore that this research is set out to know whether such non-objective report is as a result of government ownership, the journalist or if there are other factors responsible for such unethical reportage government did not own and exert control of broadcast media for its sake but for a definite purpose of using it as a medium or tool of telling its own story the way it suits them. Most state owned media organizations are hand locked with credibility and objective questions for the way they have handled information dissemination for the government at the expense of the opposition and indeed the people. For this reason, media audience today take state owned media messages with a pinch of salt. And because EBS radio is a culprit in this issue, the researcher has chosen it for her study.
1.3 Objective of the Study
- To know whether media ownership affect the news objectivity and credibility of the I.T.V Benin.
- Is media ownership influence the editorial opinion of the I.T.V Benin?
- Does programme and news of I.T.V Benin reflect it bias as against objectivity?
1.4 Research Question
- Does ownership affect the news objectivity and credibility of the I.T.V Benin?
- To what extent does I.T.V Benin owners deprive those who did not belong to their caucus to use their medium for any purpose?
- Is media ownership influence the editorial opinion of the I.T.V Benin reflect is bias as against objectivity?
1.5 Significance of the Study
- The will assist the media practitioners to know its role in enhancing the success of media
- Future researchers will find this work very interesting to use as a reference material for their new work and see what previous researchers have done.
- Government agencies that are saddled with the responsibility to ensure fairness and media consistency and also see the need to come up will new law that will reduce ownership influence especially in this democratic era so that the public will come to trust such medium.
1.6 Scope of the Study
Although, the primary aims and objectives of this study is to examine the impact of ownership structure on the objectivity of private owned broadcast stations in Nigeria using I.T.V Benin as a study. However, this cannot be effectively examined without considering the demographic factor of the staffs and sample number of media houses under study, who will turn respond to the questionnaire of this study, experience, education background, professional training, age, sex etc must also be considered before the distribution of research instruments. The research has been narrowed down to I.T.V Benin because it is difficult to study all broadcast media in Nigeria due to vest nature of the vest nature of the country, lack of enough time for this study, limited resources and other reasonable logistics worthy to note.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
The study concentrated mostly on effect of ownership structure on the objectivity of private owned broadcast stations in Nigeria using independent as a study, the factors mentioned under scope of eh is study also limit this research. But the limitations will be discussed under eh following headings. Time, finance, materials etc.
Time constraint has posed a lot of limitation to this work as time provided to carry out this work is relatively short.
Although previous scholar has written so much on mass media and government control, press freedom and host of other yet there is little literature material available on the effect or impact of private media ownership on objectivity. Despite the limitation the researcher will still put all necessary effort in ensuring that the work achieve the basic objectives and submitted before in ensuring that the work achieve the basic objectives and submitted before the deadline set for the work.
1.8 Definition of Terms
This is synonymous to the role or effect something has on another.
This is the one that establishes mass media which could be the federal or state government or private individuals for the purpose of disseminating information.
Conclusion and Recommendation
In this study, our focus was to examine the influence of government ownership on political contents of broadcasting service using ITV Benin as a case study. The study specifically was aimed at ascertaining if government ownership of broadcasting affect the news objectivity and credibility of the ITV Benin.
The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 30 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are active workers in ITV Benin, Edo State.
The findings revealed that government ownership of media affects the news objectivity and credibility of the ITV Benin. The findings also revealed that media ownership influence the editorial opinion of the ITV Benin.
Based on the responses obtained, the researcher proffers the following recommendations:
Since freedom of the press is one of the features of a democratic country which Nigeria is one, the government of Nigeria should give the press the freedom to exercise their rights by not influencing the report they give to the public, hence making them to maintain their objectivity and credibility.
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