An Assessment Of Mass Media And The Management Of Human Rights In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

An Assessment Of Mass Media And The Management Of Human Rights In Nigeria


From all indications, it has become obvious that the mass media has a great role to play in the management of human rights abuse in Nigeria, taking into cognizance their role in the society which includes surveillance of the society, correlation of the various ideas and transmission of the various interplay of ideas amongst the different segment of society. This is where the mass media’s role comes into play. In that they (populace ) are better enlightened about their rights and privileges as citizens of Nigeria; so that as a people they can ultimately know what ought to be and what ought not to be.

And the government also will be better positioned to its roles as custodian of the people as government is meant for the benefit of the greater good of the people, that is respecting the rights and liberties of individuals as citizens of this great country Nigeria.

Unless and except the mass media lives up to its responsibilities, it cannot and will not be an effective tool in the management of human right abuse in Nigeria.

Finally, we acknowledge the contribution and understanding of the members of the group, working together has been a wonderful experience and for every other person who contributed one way or other, God bless you all. Amen.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

The political entity called Nigeria has continued since independence under one form to the other. Especially with military rulers who have had to be rule through decrees thus suspending the constitution that guarantees the citizenry their fundamental human rights.

It there makes it obvious that the basis for government, which is for the ultimate good of the people, is defeated when their rights are not guaranteed. And indeed authoritarian rule has not helped human right issues, as abuse has been recorded time and again even in the mass media bizarre manner.

This is where the mass media comes into focus , as through it, the government and the governed are better be informed about their various privileges and limitation as it is entrenched in the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, albeit only under a democratically elected government.

The mass media serves as the cornerstone of any progress in the society both economically and politically. And, because it serves as an essential ingredients in the successful management of human right abuse all over the world. It is therefore that their role as societal watchdogs should not be abandoned for some mundane issue.

For a society that it’s citizens cannot be guaranteed the protection of their fundamental human rights cannot be said to be free in the real sense of the word.

The mass media has always been a channel through which human right abuses has been exposed to the public. But there are times human right abuses have been quite intractable for the mass media to manage either due to tribal or religious sentiment or outright ownership interference. In such cases, the citizens whose rights have been abuses are unfortunately given the short end of the stick. The mass media should be able to effectively manage the issues of human right abuses as they unfold in the society. Considering the fact that they most times set the agenda for public discourse. They should in the process to be able distinguish what should be known and what should not be known.

Expect in that case, they want to leave the role of agenda setting to the government; which is this case means that the people are indolent and as Plato stressed “they look up to the leaders of the state to say what goes”. Despite the inability of the mass media to at times manage human right abuses in Nigeria, they have at other times pre – empted the activities of human right groups in the past, thus, leading to clampdown on members of the groups.

1.2 Statement of the Research Problems

The management of human right abuses by the Nigerian mass media is what is being looked. The main thrust of this research is to bring to the fore the role of the various variables in the proper management of human right abuses.

The issues of political human right abuses and the various ethnic and religious factors have seriously short – circuited the proper management of human right abuses will be perused with a view of finding a way out of them.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

  1. This study sets out to see what extent the mass media has been able to manage human right abuses in Nigeria.
  2. It also aimed at putting in the right perspective the order of management of human abuses by the mass media.
  3. This study set out to know whether religious and ethnical consideration is responsible for how the mass media in Nigeria manages cases of human right abuses.
  4. Finally, it is to find out whether ownership factors plays any role in the management of human right abuse in Nigeria.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. To what extent do journalists select and cover human rights stories?
  2. To what extent do journalists avoid bias or distortion of human rights information?
  3. To what extent does government influence the role of the mass media in reporting human rights issues in the country?
  4. What are the people’s attitudes to the role of mass media in gate keeping and reporting of human rights issues?

Addressing these questions, this report examines the news and reporting process and its relations with human rights organizations. It assesses the difficulties of communicating complex human right issues accurately and suggests ways in which coverage of human rights could be improved.

1.5 Significance of the Study

It is expected that this study would be immense benefit to the government, the mass media and the people of this country. This study will highlight the importance of the mass media as a vehicle for political mobilization in a transition era.

Through the mass media, especially the radio and television in Nigeria might have a chance of having a viable political culture and help to choose a leadership that will inculcate a viable and sustaining democracy. This will also give us a society blessed with.

As right put by GORAN HEDEBRO-“communication media can create a climate change by including a new valves.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Summary

Human rights issues have become important subjects in our media today. Those rights include: freedom from unlawful imprisonment, torture, execution or fair and equal treatment, etc. The scope of the rights is civil, political, economic, social, legal, environmental or cultural rights.

They are universal, inalienable, indivisible, non-discriminatory and fundamental to human existence. Human Development and on Human Rights have given new shape to old aspirations and objectives. Extensive use of these two distinct modes of normative thinking, respectively invoking human development and human rights, encourages the question of whether the two concepts can be viewed together in a more integrated way, gaining something through being combined in a more comprehensive vision. To answer this question, it is important not only to have a clear understanding of what the two concepts – human development and human rights – mean, but also to examine their commonalities and their differences. Indeed, it is necessary to undertake two basic diagnostic inquiries.

5.2 Conclusion

Tejumaiye, [2004], contends that Guide-Dog journalism is derived from general disinterestedness of citizens in societal or collective problems. It is a proactive as well as reactive phenomenon to the collective will of ensuring that the society in which we live is made better for all; therefore, the Mass Media should imbed this principle for the achievement of the said objective. The responsibility to protect human right resides first and foremost with the Federal Government and States through public authorities and government agencies. All hands must be on deck, the individuals and international laws have a stake in protecting human rights for national development. The fact that the mass media play important roles in the protection of human rights is well-know to all and sundry, notwithstanding, the mass media in their diversities should work hard towards the attainment of protection of human rights which is the threshold of peace.

5.3 Recommendations

  1. There is need to adequately train government officials and members ofsecurity and police forces on how to strictly observe the basic rights of people in the execution of their duties
  2. There is need for Mass Media aggressive educational and enlightenment mobilization campaign on Human rights
  3. Campaign to free all prisoners of conscience, to ensure fair and prompt trials for political prisoners and to stop torture, cruel treatment of prisoners, political killings and disappearance
  4. The Web can be used to gain human right information, express political opinion, and mobilize people against human right violation or to make donation or contribution to oppressed ones.
  5. Education about human right may be incorporated into school curricula
  6. Social structural changes as equality in allocation of resources, even distribution of government services must be prioritized
  7. There is need for the government to create a healthy atmosphere for the operation of mass media especially in the area of human rights.
  8. Absurd movies, immoral play and publications that are capable of introduce or instill negative attitude or adversely condition the psychology of the people should be censored.

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