Press Freedom In A Democracy (A Case Study Of President Umaru Musa Yar’dua’s Government)

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Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication


This work is dedicated to, first and foremost, to God almighty for taking me to my present level. Also to my lecturers and to my parents Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Odueke and to my little brother Izu for giving my life a meaning.


To express gratitude to all who have contributed to successful completion of this project. I wish therefore to thank the Almighty God whose special grace and blessings have sustained us.

I acknowledge my supervisor Mr. Johnson Ekpomo for the great supervision and head of department,
A very big thanks goes to my parents for the unimaginable support throughout my academic program.

A profound gratitude goes to all the lecturers for the amazing support to my project report. May God bless you all more than you can ever imagine.


This research centers on press freedom in a democracy Democracy:A case study of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s Government. This research work focuses on the extend of press freedom experienced in Nigeria, and encounter between the press and the Yar’dua’s Government.

The methodology used in this research is the survey design, also questionnaires were used in collecting data from respondents and simple percentage system was used to analyze the data. The researcher found that press freedom in Nigeria is qualified and that the passing of the information Bill into law will solve the challenges the press face in Nigeria.

Table Of Contents

  • Title page i
  • Approval Page ii
  • Dedication iii
  • Acknowledgement iv
  • Abstract v
  • Table of contents vi

Chapter One

  • 1.0 Introduction 1
  • 1.1 Background 2
  • 1.2 Statement of problem 7
  • 1.3 Research questions 7
  • 1.4 Objective of study 8
  • 1.5 Significance of study 9
  • 1.6 Scope and delimitation of study 9
  • 1.7 Definition of terms 10

Chapter Two Literature Review

  • 2.0 Introduction 12
  • 2.1 Theoretical framework and summary 18
  • 2.2 The media and the president 22
  • 2.3 Imprisonment of press freedom 23
  • 2.4 Freedom of information bill 30

Chapter Three

  • 3.0 Methodology 35
  • 3.1 Research design 35
  • 3.2 Population of study 36
  • 3.3 Sampling size 36
  • 3.4 Sampling technique 36
  • 3.5 Instrument of data collection 36
  • 3.6 Method of data analysis 37

Chapter Four

  • 4.0 Introduction 38
  • 4.1 Data presentation and analysis 38
  • 4.2 Discussion of findings 47

Chapter Five

  • Summary, Conclusion And Recommendations
  • 5.1 Summary 50
  • 5.2 Conclusion 52
  • 5.3 Recommendations 52
  • References 54
  • Appendix 56
  • Questionnaires 57

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

The concept of press freedom requires that media practitioners should have the freedom to obtain and publish news and opinion for public information and knowledge, freedom to probe without hindrance or constraint. Basically, press freedom is a corollary of freedom of expression which in itself is a fundamental right without which genuine democracy cannot succeed. The right of people to freely express themselves and commend on the affairs of the state and conduct of government is an intrinsic part of democracy that demands accountability of rulers and public officials to the citizenry.

The most important of the media is to uphold the government responsibility and accountability to the people, giving constitutional backing under the Nigerian constitution requiring that the press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be tree to uphold the fundamental objective contained in the constitution and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people.
The difficulty of fulfilling this role is the purpose of this project “press freedom in democracy” which has been put together in a chronological order from the origin of modern press in Nigeria, extending to the current time.

1.1 Background To Study

Regardless of the ideological differences in the various socio-political systems of the world, press freedom, a logical expression is to-day a universal phenomenon. Globally guaranteed by article 19 of the universal declaration human rights 1948, it is enshrined in constitutions and customarily observed by societies exemplified by Britain which has no written constitution.

Although the modern press began in Belgium in 1605 (Altschull 1984) and Sweden is generally believed to be the first country in the world to constitutional ordain press freedom (Moemeka 1978)

The idea of the freedom of the press first evolved as a component of the libertarian social philosophy which originated in England after the revolution of 1988 (Siebert et al 1956). Between the early 1920’s when the first English “news books” and “corantos” appeared in London (Harris 1978) and the 1688political sidelining of the British monarchy, authoritarianism both as political and press philosophies reigned supreme. Under the authoritarian system of the Time.

Truth was conceived to be, not the product of the great mass of the people, but of a few wise men that were in position to guide and direct their fellows. Thus, truth was thought to be centered near the center of power. The press therefore functioned from the top down. The rulers of the time used the press to inform the people of what the rulers thought they should support (Siebert et al 1956)

The monarch or government had absolute power and control over ownership, content and used of mass media. Criticisms of the political machinery and officials in power through the mass media were forbidden and the press existed chiefly to support and to service the state (Siebert et al 1956) and therefore had no freedom. By 1688, with the over throw of monarchical authoritarianism in British however, libertarianism as a politics and press system took over and with it the concept of press freedom.

By that as it may, there are two types of press freedom and secondly there is a qualified press freedom. The former is a situation whereby the press is wholly free and serves its audience without been subjected to any form of harassment and intimidation. It needs to be emphasized that there is no policy in the world that enjoys this kind of Utopian absolute freedom. Advanced democracies only are close to it.

The later (qualified press) however, is a system where the press is not free to perform its functions. Nigeria appears to be a model of qualified press freedom, existence of the official secrets Act of 1962 is a hindrance, it stipulates some “no go press” with regard to press access to vital information which it may not be in the best interest of the government to release. Ralph observes that conflicting argument on the amount of freedom the press in Nigeria should enjoy continues to amount. For instance he says that:“The Nigerian press has argued on favor of total freedom of the press, the Nigerian government on the other hand, has told the press that it is asking too much……(cited in Sadeeq 1993:19)”.

There are other laws like those of defamation of character, libel and sedition, all which in one way or the other, serve to tame the media or to completely cow them. Several other factors that do truncate media effectiveness in developing countries is generally and Nigeria in particular vis-à-vis it potency but it should be emphasized that the media in Nigeria need to be strengthened for them to do their job as watchdog more effectively. So the challenges facing mass media organization including the Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ) and the guide of editors amongst others is to fight for the inclusion of the specific provision in the constitution guaranteeing press freedom.

1.2 Significance Of Study

  1. At the end of the study, if successful, will bring to notice the importance of the passage of the freedom of information bill by the senate into an Act.
  2. The finding would add to the existing body of knowledge or literature in the area of communication and press freedom.
  3. Recommendation will assist students and researchers in other areas of press freedom in their endeavor.

1.3 Statement Of Problem

The statements of problems in this work are:

  1. The study is to review encounter between the government and the press.
  2. Delay of the government to pass the freedom of information bill to an Act.
  3. Harassment of the press by the government.

1.4 Objectives Of The Study

The objectives of this research are listed below:

  1. To ensure the extent of press freedom in Yar’dua’s administration.
  2. To point out the flaws of the 1999 constitution in report of press freedom.
  3. To recommend the passage of the freedom of information bill to an Act.
  4. To put more light on the significance of press freedom to sustainable national development.

1.5 Research Questions

The following questions are relevant to the researchers

  1. To what extent is the press under President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s Regime?
  2. How effective have journalists been in reporting political news?
  3. Should the freedom of information bill signed into an Act?

1.6 Scope And Delimitation Of Study

This study centers on press freedom in a democratic government based on Yar’adua’s administration. The study did not go beyond Nigeria constitution and environment, in other words, the nature of press freedom in other countries was not considered.

1.7 Definition Of Terms

For proper understanding, the key terms in this research must be given meaning.


Greek word meaning, rule by the people (oxford concise dictionary of politics p129) that is government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Democracy is recognized of a right to be part and parcel of governance (Momoh democracy watch 2007) also a state of society characterized by formal equality of right and privileges.


the right or condition of being able to do, say and think whatever you want to without being limited i.e. freedom of speech, worship, participation (oxford advanced learners dictionary p473).


it refers to newspapers and magazines and these parts of television and radio which broadcast news or reporters and photographers who work for them.

Mass Media:

this is the dissemination of message to a heterogeneous populace hence mass media is a communication which comprises of electronics and publications. Electronics include TVs, radio and internet.

I bet you, the complete material is fully loaded. This is just an excerpt. The Material is in MS-Word Format which you can easily edit and is comprehensive for a complete research work for this topic

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How to nail it on the head during your project defence

You are through with writing that project. Now what?

You have found yourself at that point where you have to defend what you have written. Of course you have to stand in front of your supervisor and other literary personalities to prove that you know what you wrote in your project paper. Unfortunately, the more you think about it, the more it looks like you are about to face a legion. It is not a war. But the emotion of dread welling up inside of you makes it look like one. So now you are asking yourself questions.

  • How am I going to start?
  • I hope I will do well enough to get an A.

You really want to nail it, but you need to come to terms with exactly how to get everything in perfect control. Especially your emotions of fear that seem to make a wreck of you every time you think about public speaking.
So here is the deal. I want to help you avoid that feeling that would ruin your precious moment if you dare to let it. And we are going to do it together.

I am going to highlight some very important tips to help you get in control for you to be comfortable enough to move from that feeling of DREAD to CONFIDENT; and making an awesome Impression for that great rating your supervisors should be giving to you so freely.

Consider these tips as you prepare for your defence. We will be taking them one after the other so here we go.

Watch Your Body Language And Keep It Confident:

Can you tell that a person is falling apart if they look confident? … If I can second guess you rightly, am sure you answered no to that question. Remind yourself that you need to come out that way. Now this might seem like a huge big deal when you are dealing with the foreboding. Maintaining a poise of confidence is very important. So find your most comfortable position, sitting or standing and draw up your body. You must exude confidence. It is something you need to do for yourself. People can only see what you allow your body language to show. So you must endeavour to put that out. Remember the story of David and Goliath? … At the end of your defence day, you want to be David.

Dress In Your Most Comfortable And Impressive:

Am sure this one is a no brainer. However I must highlight that you choose comfortable pieces. You don’t want to look so good and yet look like you were forced to wear something that does not belong to you. It’s great to ensure that as impressive as your clothes are on you, that they are also very comfortable.

Speak With Authority:

Going hand to hand with that aura of confidence is your most powerful asset:your words. If you look that confident, your words must not come out like whimpers. To be able to pull this off, you definitely need to speak as deliberately as possible in expressing yourself. Let them also hear what they see.

Use, Your Gestures:

I have often found this to come to my rescue in dealing with shyness and conveying my confidence. Usually it gives you an edge to also drive home your point. You must, however, ensure that you do not over use it. It doesn’t mean that your hands should be flying all over the place. That would be absolutely unnecessary. If you do this well, after a while you will realize that you are not as self-conscious as you used to be at the very start. For most situations, it would have completely disappeared altogether; leaving a really confident you talking.

Have A Good Opening And Closing Line:

Make sure you have perfected a good opening line. You should also be armed with a good closing line too. Try and rehearse it to a friend. If for the first time you presented it, your friend does not say “wow, that’s beautiful” or something like that; just know you need to keep refining it until you get the perfect line. Both opening and closing lines will go a long way in how impressed your panel gets to rate you high.

Make Sure You Know Your Work:

Certainly you should understand how important it is to know your own work from start to finish. Not having in-depth knowledge of your own work is tantamount to a suicide mission. Why should you kill yourself?
When all is said and done, this is what you came to defend in the first place. You should know your work from A to Z.

Prepare For The Questions:

Now this part is truly essential. You must be sure you do not floor all the good work you did on your presentation by not answering correctly. You must pay attention to the questions you are asked to be sure you will give the right answer. Many people get it wrong at this stage and spoil their good presentation. When you do not understand any question do endeavour to ask the person to expatiate what they mean before you answer.

These tips are by no means exhaustive, but applying these tips will give you some necessary advantage you need for a great outcome. Of course that outcome would mean that you eventually earn all your points on this project.

The structure of a good project work

Undergraduate projects in Nigeria is a prerequisite for graduation amongst Nigerian tertiary students who will which to obtain bachelors degree in their respective courses of study such as accounting, banking and finance, business administration and a host of others. Writing an undergraduate project in Nigeria for final year students entails a lot both financially and otherwise. Being able to develop any final year project depends on getting a researchable topic whether it is Accounting Undergraduate project topics, Banking and Finance research topics or banking and finance project topics and materials and it all requires diligent hard work of students who are willing to develop best undergraduate projects in Nigeria and graduate in flying colors.

A typical Undergraduate project in Nigerian tertiary institutions can be said to be divided into five or six chapters depending on the format of the school and course of study which are

1. Introduction

The introduction of an undergraduate project states the main research problem and research argument. What precisely the study is all about and why it is important. It looks at the originality of the research work and how it will fill the gap in other studies. Justification for a research undergraduate topic should not be lengthy before it has been explicitly stated.

Below are the contents in chapter one of an undergraduate research project which includes;

  • Background of the study,
  • Statement of the problem,
  • Objectives or aims of the study,
  • The research questions,
  • Research hypothesis,
  • Significance of the study,
  • Scope of the study,
  • Limitations of the study and
  • Operational definition of terms.

2. Literature review

Literature review of any undergraduate research work, be it business administration project topics or Economics project topics just to mention a few is very critical to securing a high grade in one’s project work. The literature review of a research process uncovers what other writers have written about the student’s topic. A student’s undergraduate research work should include a discussion or review of what is known about the subject and how that knowledge was acquired. The review could conclude with a brief summary of the literature and its implications. The contents of the literature review are the theoretical review, conceptual framework, empirical review and summary of literature review.

3. Research Methodology

This section includes a description of the research methods used in the undergraduate research work such as the sample size, data collection methods, measurement instruments, research data analysis procedures and the population from which the sample was selected.  This section also describes the method used in selecting the sample or samples, validation and reliability of the instruments used in the research work. There are different research statistical techniques used in undergraduate research work such as SPSS, e-views etc.

4. Results & Discussion

This section presents and discusses the data analysis results used in an undergraduate research work, the results of each analysis is being summarized, tabulated, and then discussed for each research question.  Then for each research hypothesis, the statistical test of significance selected and applied to the data is briefly described, followed by a statement indicating whether the hypothesis was supported or not supported.  In presenting the result analyses/summary in an undergraduate project tables and figures and or graph are used to add clarity to the presentation.

5. Summary, Conclusions And Recommendations

This section summarizes the findings of the study in an easy to understand manner.  It also explains the practical implications of those findings, and points to recommended directions for future research in that area.


This is where every source cited in the undergraduate research work is being included. Every undergraduate research work must be properly referenced for its authenticity.

Choosing A Good Project / Research Topic

Students in Nigerian universities these days wish to choose a very simple project topic/material. There is no issue choosing a simple project topic; the only problem is your ability to choose a good project or research topic that your supervisor will easily approve for you.

Most project supervisors really want to see how good his or her project student understands his or her surrounding through the kind of topic he or she chooses for their project work.

There are some project topic that are not reject-able; for instance in Nigeria of today; what do you think is the major issue on ground now?

If a project student can choose or craft a topic on the effect of dollar increment on the economy of Nigeria. Such project topic will be very interesting to write on.

Now what are the qualities of a good project topic?

  1. The materials for the project topic must be easily assessable.
  2. The project topic itself must be meaningful.
  3. The variables must be able to give a clear aim of the project topic.

What do I mean by variable?

Well I am deriving my point from the area of project writing; the variables here are those main words in the project topic.

Like the above project topic; the effect of dollar increment on the economy of Nigeria. You can see the main variables that really define this project topic are:dollar, increment and economy.

Before you present your topic to your project supervisor, first of all understand your project topic, and then secondly try to do some research for your topic to see if at least you can get up to 60% of what you need to write the complete project.

I said that above because you might have a very nice topic that the materials are not available online and there are no books as regard the topic; in this case the project topic becomes difficult for you even though the topic is catchy.

What do I mean by your topic being assessable?

Well what I mean is very simple and easy to understand. Simply pick your project topic, type it on google and see if you will have at least a good background for the topic you are writing on.

If you can have a good background for your project topic and you can understand the problem associated with the project topic, then I believe the aim of the project is not far-fetched.



Samuel Obiora Blessed is the CEO and founder of Samphina Academy ( a.k.a Nigeria Students Media, the youngest engineering graduate of Federal Polytechnic Nekede in 2017 and the engine brain behind this great platform. He is the man behind the scene, filled with many potentials, a musician as well as a pro developer with the interest of Nigerian students at heart.

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