Influence Of Ownership In Radio News Coverage (A Study Of Federal Radio Corporation Of Nigeria, Enugu)
This study was undertaken to examine to influence of ownership in radio new coverage. Categories of media ownership in Nigeria are private owned and government owned but, the researcher concentrated more on government owned media since it is the researcher’s area of study. The point of the study is to determine the influence of ownership in radio news coverage to determine if, the news covered is owner’s interest or public’s interest oriented. A survey of the selected broadcasting stations news coverage for a period of two weeks was carried out with the use of questionnaires. The data obtained were used to obtain the frequency for the study. The data was analyzed using the simple percentage method and chi-square. This was used to obtain percentage prominence and degree of freedom of news coverage the study. The result of the analysis revealed that, radio news coverage is highly influenced by the owner’s (government) and the news that is covered is owner’s interest oriented instead of public interest oriented. The research also shows that the government has influence on radio news coverage. Recommendations were made base on the studies that the government should interference less in the running of the station and focus on subvention and overall performance of the station as a tool national developments covering news that are people’s interest oriented instead of owner’s interest oriented.
1.1 Background of the study.
Mass media are very important tool of communication through which information is passed to even the farthest end of the world. They enable us to communicate with each other by helping us to overcome the barriers of time and space. They perform both primary and secondary functions for the society.
Mass media function in various ways. First, mass media keep us well informed of the happenings around us and of the world which will otherwise remain unknown.
The media also persuade us mostly through advertisements. As we can see newspapers, magazines, radio and television.
Also, the mass media gives us entertainment. Television and radio broadcasting provides us with a big variety of programs which both educates and entertain us.
The media systems that exist in a society are directly related to the political system prevalent in that society. The political system determines the exact relationship between the media and the government. The political system in place also determines the relationship between the media and the people. It also determines to what capacity the media will operate. The political system in a country also affects the flow of information in the country in which it operates. It, for example, the political system in place in a country is an authoritative one (i.e. Military rule) there will be no free flow of information as the media will be acting in fear of the government and will cover the information that the government want the people to be informed about and so the people if that country will continue to live in ignorance of the activities of their government. But since Nigeria is a democratic society, the researcher is going to talk about the role of the media is a democratic society.
The role of the news media in a democratic society springs from the right of the people to learn about matters of public concern.
Nigerians, as members of a democracy, claim a freedom to speak about the workings of government, and entitlement to debate government conduct and a right to demand that policy makers defend their decisions such things rely on access to information. People can play a useful role in a democracy and hold their government accountable only if informed well enough to do so. In this context, the news media act as both a conduit and a watch dog. Free expression also encourages a government to be answerable to its people. Indeed, because of advances in Internet communications and the mass media, at no time in history have governments been better able to answer directly to those who elect them. But there are limits in the scope of information people have access to so, it is the job of the news media and the journalists to pass on correct and concise information to the people so that they are kept abreast of the activities of their government and their environment. This brings us to broadcast management and media owners.
Broadcasting is the distribution of audio and video content to a dispersed audience via radio, television, or other digital transmission media. Receiving parties may include the general public or a relatively large subset of thereof. It is imperative to note that broadcasting organizations has various things it offers to its audience. Those offerings of the organization are regarded as programs of the organization, programs are artistic products packaged as tangible goods in an economic sense for the consumption of audience of a broadcast channel in the medium (Owuamalam, 2002).
Radio news programs are designed for the ears because it is an audio oriented medium. It is however regarded as an audio visual medium because the audience can see the programs through their minds eye and be able to interpret it.
Broadcasting management is the organizing and control of the affairs of the broadcasting organization. The control of a broadcast management or media house influences the content of news that will be broadcast to the audience. Also the type of government policy/policies that the management will implement.
Private ownership of media houses was not allowed until 1992 under the Babangida administration, when due to mounting agitation and pressure he was forced to establish National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) which successfully licensed private individual to participate in broadcasting. This brings us to the issue of media ownership.
When US media pundit A. J. Liebling wrote that freedom of the press belongs to those who own one, he summed up the emotion that separates the media business from virtually any other enterprise. The press today, more generally, the mass media stands not simply for the power to cover information but crucially for the assumed ability to shape attitudes, opinions and beliefs. The media are the vehicles for education and propaganda. Who controls these outlets and what the player’s intentions are for their use have been a contentious issues at least since the 15th century. When both church and state recognized the potential of the printing press and immediately sought to control it.
Media ownership pattern has become central to the discussion on class media and society because as Edeani (1985) pointed out.
“The nature of ownership of any press system determines to a great extent whether that press is dynamic, vigorous, responsive and responsive press; or and emasculated, timid, spineless, ineffectual or irresponsible press”.
However, we have three main categories of media ownership namely; Government ownership, Private ownership
and Mix ownership.
But the researcher will be constrained to government and private ownership of media.
Government ownership implies that the medium completely financed by the government. NRCN (Federal Radio
Corporation of Nigeria) and NTA (Nigerian Television Authority) etc. in government ownership; the government not only finances the media house, but also encrypts policies for the media and helps in implementing them. The government previews the news content and news programs to see if they agree with their policies and what they (the government) want. Also, any news that the government does not want to be made known to the public and is in the news content, the government will erase out of the news content.
Also the government further controls the media by their decision to invest or not to invest. The government’s interest wilt be reflected in the appointment of competent staff.
Private ownership on the other hand refers the situation where individuals (one person or group of persons) establish, finance and direct the administration of a media organization. Example of privately owned media houses or organization are AlT (African Independent Television), MINAJ BROADCAST, SILVER BIRD etc. whether a station is government or private owned, the key variable is listenership and viewership, what the audience wants should be balanced with what the broadcast feel they should hear.
Influence on the other hand is both external and internal since there is nucleus of interdependence or co-existence in the media organization. Shoemaker and Rees (1991) said that there are many established groups we often influence the message of broadcast and print media. This group ranges from proprietors influences, leadership influence and house policy.
There is a common saying with regards to mass media control in Nigeria and elsewhere which had become a cliché that “he who pays the piper dictates the tune”. This means that owners of mass media organize, channel and control what the media covers (reports) and broadcast and how they broadcast and how they broadcast it.
It is obviously true that mass media owners exert a threatening control over the press, whether a mass media is managed by a board of directors appointed by private owners or by a public corporation established by the government. The media have policies set too by the board. The policies define the short term and long term operations.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In Nigeria, most news covering are determined by the owners and gatekeepers of the organization. These owners are those in the helm of affairs of the government, and like the ruling government, the gate keepers take orders from owners. Their rank and file includes the management of radio stations and the various news editors and news and program producers. The philosophy of any media operation in Nigeria depends on the government in place. The problem in this study is examine the impact of leadership decision on radio news coverage.
Secondly, how these decisions can serve publics interest. Thirdly, how to convince the government to interfere less in running the affairs of the station to their own interest instead of the publics interest.
The right news covering decision and programming can lead to success for the radio station. Whatever the practice in Radio Nigeria (FRCN) federal Radio corporation of Nigeria, the influence of leadership and gate keeping on programs are still present and if is not handled well, it may greatly impair the success of any program, so this is what the research is aimed at finding out.
It is hoped that answers arrived would help the researcher make some observation and policy proposals that would help re-address the present problems of radio news coverage in FRCN, if ever.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
This research is up to achieve the following objectives:
- To find out the influence of ownership or leadership on radio news coverage of FRCN Enugu.
- To find out whether radio news covered (coverage) is people’s interest oriented or owner’s interest oriented.
- To ascertain the influence of gate keepers on radio news coverage.
- To try to make suggestions in likely areas of recommendation and improvement.
1.4 Research Questions
The following questions if properly answered will achieve the aforementioned objectives of the research.
- To what extent do media influence news coverage?
- To what extent is the pattern of news people interest oriented or owner’s interest oriented.
- To what extent does the gatekeeper influence radio news coverage?
- What are the suggested areas of recommendation and improvement?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
The hypothesis mentioned below will help the researcher carry out her research more efficiently and will give her more focus and an agenda.
- Ho: Ownership or leadership does not have any influence on radio news: coverage.
H1: Ownership or leadership of a media house has influences on radio news coverage.
- Ho: The news coverage of FRCN Enugu is not owner’s interest oriented instead of people’s interest oriented.
H2: The news coverage of FRCN Enugu is owner’s interest oriented instead of people’s interest oriented.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The choice of FRCN as opposed to radio stations is because of its significance in Nigeria. Perhaps, as it has often been said to be the largest radio network in Africa, besides this, it has been a relying point for people (listeners) to hear at prime listening time. Much attention is paid to the news story on network period by Nigerians.
FRCN is believed to have surpassed any other radio station in terms of its wider reach. The ultimate significance of this study will lie with its final utility and its ability to influence the on-going policies on how, where and what news to cover for Nigerians).
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Means the effect of the government’s ownership or leadership on FRCN news coverage Enugu.
The media are tools of communication FRCN as a mass medium tries see how functions, whether it performs all the functions of a medium without intrusion of bias because of its owners or leaders.
Ownership means the legal right to possess something.
It is the ownership of a media house especially the ownership of the FRCN station Enugu that manipulates the performance, news coverage and other programs of FRCN.
4. News Coverage:
This means sourcing for data, information (news) being covered. Also, to find out if the news covered is people’s oriented or government interest oriented.
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