Study Of The Problems Of Information Sourcing In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

Study Of The Problems Of Information Sourcing In Nigeria


Abstract


The main objective of this study is to investigate the problem of information sourcing in Nigeria. The study is geared towards critically examining the press and problem of sourcing for information in the present democracy. The research work was based on a questionnaire. The questionnaire was administered to the respondents of the study. The data collected from the respondents via the questionnaire were analyzed and analyzed. The results of the analysis made from the responses of the respondents are summarized as follows: (1) There are legal and social problems to have continued to restrain the Nigerian Journalist from adequate and effective news reporting. (2) The FOIA places on the shoulders of the journalists a rather heavy burden the task to report in manners that are not only responsible but also engender development. (3) The workability of the law in Nigeria, remains a concern. (4) There is a growing awareness of journalists, it is discovered, on the issue of information gathering in Nigeria; it is in that, that the freedom of information act can be beneficial to Nigerian nation and its citizens alike.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

There are legal and social problems to have continued to restraint the Nigerian Journalist from adequate and effective news reporting. These laws are meant to dictate to journalists what they should and should not publish. Whether in a military or civilian government, these laws are always there to serve the objectives of the powers that be, and to brow beat the press. In the past military dictatorship, many journalists and reporters suffered all sorts of deprivation and depredations. When the military relinquished power to a democratically elected civilian government in May 1999, there was general relief owing to belief that members of the “fourth estate” of the realm would have relative freedom. However, this is not the case. This article examines this and other issues pertaining to press freedom in the present democracy.

In concluding this article, it will be pertinent to reiterate the idea that the level of democracy in any nation is determined by the government media relationship of that nation.

In spite of the turbulent circumstances in which Nigerian press finds itself, it will continue to be the mouthpiece of the people because it seems that government has mastered the art of hide and seek and the press has got the will and tenacity to find the administrative gimmicks of the government and inform the press is usually the mirror through which the public sees how the state is run. This was put in a more succinct way when an American justice, George Sutherland, had this to say about press freedom in 1935: “a free press stands as one of the great interpreters between the government and the people. To allow it be fettered is to be fettered ourselves”. This goes to say that, the freer the press of any nation, the freer the people. Freedom of the press is not an end in itself but a means to a free society (Umechukwu, 2003:12).

Only a free press can endure the exposure and sustain democracy and development. A lot of changes could come if the press was allowed to operate unrestricted. In many developing countries, journalist continue to be harassed and killed for their constituent; and citizens often are unable to assert their rights to access information needed to make good decisions.

Through the incidence of harassment and detention of journalist in Nigeria has subsided since 1998, the importance of press freedom as a cornerstone of human rights and a guarantee of other freedom has been the hallmark of media is referred to as fourth estate of the realm, is assumed to be their arbiter, the umpire and its executive, the legislature and the judiciary. The press stands between the government and the masses and it is through the press that the voices of the masses are heard.

The “press” has to be defined and exemplified for the understanding of the research topic.
The press is the molder of the society. Although this fact has been lashed with numerous criticisms, we cannot deny the fact that the press shapes the society. Most journalists are aware of this, so they determine the society what it desires and what it needs.

According to the marginal note in section 39 of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria which read thus: right to freedom of expression and the press, and the constitutional provision of some section (39 (2)) which reads thus: without prejudice to the generally of to own, established and operate any media for the dissemination of information and opinions from the forgoing it is deducible for us to say that press is the vehicle through which information ideas and opinions are disseminated.

Press is therefore a trained individual who have a sound knowledge on the rudiments of journalistic ethics on to cover and gather information for news report. Press, the journalist and photographers who work for the Newspaper and Magazine.

For the purpose of this research, it is important to explain some key word such as:

  • Dissemination.
  • News and Media collectively.
  • Newspaper.
  • Periodicals.
  • Magazines.
  • Radio.
  • Television.
Dissemination:

It simply means to spread information, knowledge, which reaches a large number of people.

News And Media Collectively:

This is the encompassing words that cover both the print media as well as the electronic media as noted down in the cassel concise dictionary.

Newspaper:

It is unbounded printed publication that is issued at regular intervals which present information in words, often supplemented with pictures.

Periodicals:

This are magazines that are published every week, month, bi-monthly, especially one that deals with academic subjects.

Magazine:

It is a publication, bound in book form containing news, information, sport articles, advertisement, feature stories, photographs and a price tag.

Radio:

It is an audio oriented media of communication that appeals, only to the sense of hearing.

Television:

By means of the radio definition, television combines with both sound and sight. That is why it is known as audio visual set.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

This research work is geared towards critically examining the press and problem of information gathering in Nigeria. That is to trace where the problem itself originated from.

The press metamorphosed from being instrument of religion, commercialization, to objective news gathering and presentation. The governments of all ages promulgated enacted and made decrees to curtail the rising influence of the press. These barrages of law contended with press freedom.

In the recent time the social responsibility function of the press have however been restricted by laws of the land and other factors. This is what this work however examines.


1.3 Research Question

Research has been defined as an organized enquiry that is aimed at providing information for solving identified problems. This research is aimed at providing answers to the following questions such as:

  1. To what extent is the freedom of information bill effective in dissemination of information?
  2. What is the relationship between the press and the government?
  3. Do journalists find it difficult to get credible information?
  4. Why do people, law enforcement agents and others find it difficult to give journalist information?

1.4 Objectives of the Study

The main objective of the study is to investigate the problem of information sourcing in Nigeria, in other to aid the completion of the study; the following specific objectives were put forward by the researcher

  1. To ascertain the problem of information sourcing in Nigeria
  2. To investigate the role of journalist in sourcing accurate information
  3. To examine the role of the media in disseminating information
  4. To proffer suggested solution to the identified problem

1.4 Research Hypotheses

To aid the completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher:

  1. H0: there are problem in sourcing information in Nigeria
    H1: there are no problems in sourcing information in Nigeria
  2. H02: the media does not play any role in disseminating information in Nigeria
    H2: the media does play a role in disseminating information in Nigeria

1.5 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of the study covers the study of the problem of information sourcing in Nigeria. But in the cause of the study, there were some factors which limited the scope of the study

a) Availability of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) Organizational Privacy:

Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities


1.6 Significance of the Study

It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the media personnel in their quest for information in the country, as the study seek to explore the difficulties encountered by the users of information in sourcing for information, the study will also be of great importance to students of mass communication and journalism as the study will add to the already existing pool of literature in the field, the study will also be of importance to researcher who intend to embark on a study in a similar topic, as the study will serve as a reference point for further study.


1.7 Definition of Terms

Newspaper:

It is unbounded printed publication that is issued at regular intervals which present information in words, often supplemented with pictures.

Periodicals:

This are magazines that are published every week, month, bi-monthly, especially one that deals with academic subjects.

Magazine:

it is a publication, bound in book form containing news, information, sport articles, advertisement, feature stories, photographs and a price tag.

Radio:

It is an audio oriented media of communication that appeals, only to the sense of hearing.

Television:

By means of the radio definition, television combines with both sound and sight. That is why it is known as audio visual set.


1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  1. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  2. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  3. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  4. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  5. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to on a study of the problem of information sourcing in Nigeria

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of sourcing for information in Nigeria


5.2 Summary

Having exhausted the analysis of the data collected from respondents via the questionnaire, the findings are summarized thus: That there is a growing awareness of journalists on the problem of information sourcing. This is not coming as a surprise as journalists a long side other civil society organization were at the forefront for the passage into law of the Freedom of Information. This awareness, it is discovered, is necessary for the maximization of the latent prospects of the FOIA in Nigeria. Again that the FOIA will indeed create access to government-held information remains cheering news. This is against the backdrop of the fact that the law provides a platform for participation and interaction between the government and the governed – these are veritable indices of a true democracy. However, the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as it is at the moment has been seen as one of the greatest banes to the workability of the FOIA in Nigeria. To this end, the advocacy for the repelling of some of these anti-press laws in our statutes if the FOIA must work is a call that cannot be easily waved off.


5.3 Conclusion

In view of the analysis made from responses of respondents, it is therefore submitted that the Freedom of Information Act has the potency to enhance the journalism practice in Nigeria, national development, guarantee national security, transparency and good governance and press freedom. However, the anti-press laws that adorn our law books, unfortunately have the capacity to frustrate the FOIA in Nigeria. Moreso, the FOIA is a catalyst for freedom with responsibility. This is so because the media now are made to assume the full states of the change agents they have often been denied. The FOIA places on the shoulders of the journalists a rather “heavy burden” the task to report in manners that are not only responsible but also engender development. It is in journalist’s adherence to journalism tenets that they would avoid the pitfall of irresponsible journalism practice to whom much is given much is required. It is in this light that journalists must know that freedom must be matched with responsibility


5.4 Recommendations

In view of the findings made in the study, the following recommendations are hereby submitted: That journalist should go beyond just being aware of the passage into law of the FOIA, but to be well acquainted with relevant provisions of the Act. It is when they do that, that they can make the most of the Act. That the workability of the law in Nigeria, remains a concern. Allaying this concern will be highly predicated on how well strict compliance is made to the relevant provisions of the law. That some of the anti-press laws that adorn or law book should either be expunged or repelled. It is in that, that the FOIA can be beneficial to the Nigerian nation and its citizens alike. That provision of the law must not only be known by all citizens but also efforts must be made to discourage or punish public office holders who attempt to frustrate the public’s effort to get information.


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