INFLUENCE OF OWNERSHIP ON PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISM PRACTICE IN NIGERIA: A STUDY OF EBBC, EBONYI AND DREAM FM, ENUGU

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ABSTRACT

The mass media have continued to be at the epicenter of information dissemination and distribution. The power wielded by professional journalists and media professionals in any society can be enormous; this why media operations and professional journalism practice have constantly witnessed many undue repressions, interferences, and in many occasions, controls from media owners and government. The reality of this phenomenon is that, the practices of journalism and media objectivity are continually called into question. Therefore, in order to clearly spell out the effect of ownership influence, this study ventures into assessing the effects of ownership on professional journalism practice in Nigeria, comparing such effect on private (Dream FM, Enugu) and public owned media (EBBC Ebonyi) houses. The population of this study was derived from the two state and the sample (385) was generated using the Australian calculator. Survey and in-depth interview were used to gather data in this study. The findings revealed that 299 respondents representing 77.7% of the sample size admitted that they noticed differences in the stations’ programme presentation. Also, 330, representing 85.7% of the sample size believed ownership influence on the two stations is high, to find out whether dream FM and EBBC media professionals enjoy same amount of editorial freedom, 322 or 83.6% respondents believed that there exist discrepancies in the level of freedom enjoyed in the private and government stations. The study further revealed that media professionals are under owners’ whims, majority representing 83.1% support this claim. In order to reduce ownership influence and control, the study suggested that media operations should democratized, the liberalization of media operations should be enforced through streamlining the FOIA; encouragement of social responsibility and media regulatory bodies are to ensure strict compliance to the ethical codes guiding media operations.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page
Table of Contents
List of Tables
List of Figures
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1       Background of the Study
1.2       Statement of the Problem
1.3       Objectives of the Study
1.4       Research Questions
1.5       Significance of the Study
1.6       Scope of the Study
1.7       Definition of Terms
References

CHAPTER TWO
LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1       Focus of Review
2.1.2    The Review of Related Literatures
2.1.3    Media Ownership and Control in Nigeria: A Historical Analysis
2.1.4    Media Ownership and Influence ov Various Media Operations
2.1.5    Ethical Implications of Media Ownership in Nigeria
2.1.6    Importance of Press Freedom in Forestalling Undue Control of the Media
2.1.7    A Case for Responsible  Press in Nigeria
2.2       Theoretical Framework
2.2.1    Social Responsibility Theory (SRT)
2.2.2    Public Interest Theory
References

CHAPTER THREE
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1       Research Design
3.2       Population of the Study
3.3       Sample Size
3.4       Sampling Technique
3.5       Measuring Instrument
3.6       Method of Data Collection
3.7       Validity of Instrument
3.8       Reliability of Instrument
3.9       Method of Data Analysis
3.10     Limitation of the Study
References

CHAPTER FOUR
DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
4.1       Data Presentation
4.1.1    Discussion of Findings

CHAPTER FIVE
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
5.1       Summary
5.2       Conclusion
5.3       Recommendation
Bibliography
Appendix

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1         Background to the Study
The mass media are fundamental in ensuring purposeful and peaceful co-existence in the society. They are indispensable to the success of most human endeavours. Through their agenda-setting role, the mass media set the hierarchy of current issues, determine the extent of transmission and establish the terms of reference and limits of debate, which ultimately influence people’s actions, reactions, decisions and judgements on the issues so raised. However, the current trend in mass media practice has raised a controversy as to who really set the agenda – the media professionals or owners? (Nkereuwem, U., Nsikan, S., &Godspower U., 2014)

The media serve as the conduit for the various forms of interaction among the different facets of the society. The strings of the interaction are normally controlled by many variables, such as the legal, ethical, political, socio-cultural, technological and economic factors. DeFleur (1989) points out that the interaction is necessary so that certain unacceptable and disruptive behaviours are not exhibited in the society.

Emphasizing the influence of information in any human society, Daramola (1999:4) states that “it is now known to possess the capacity to shape the views and mould the minds of the people, to influence course of events and to pressure authority”. Okunna(1999:108) posits that “the information function of the mass media is all embracing and indispensable for the meaningful existence of members of the society”. In the same vein, Udoakah (2006:78) added that:


Over the years, there had been popular demands for the freedom of the press for some reasons. Such reasons include the belief that the press incorporating all the mass media, would enhance the free flow information in the society, promote peace , freedom, wealth and truth and end conflicts by the advance of reasons, accumulation and dissemination of information and knowledge. This serves as the mission of communication in the society.

Therefore, control through ownership is a fact that has become the current reality of the media in every society. However, the nature of this control usually varies greatly, depending on the public system, the orientation of the political leaders in control of government, prevailing political climate, the caliber of media proprietors running the affairs of the enterprise, and or the communication professionals. On the other hand, media control may depend on the economic situation of the mass media and their stated objectives and policies.(Olayinka, 2014; Onabanjo, 2001:33).

The above positions and opinions by these numerous communication scholars demonstrate adequately the enormous powers of information in any society. Thus, the ownership of the institution of mass media responsible for gathering and distribution of information should be the cynosure of both the media stakeholders and the general public (Woods, 2006:2)

In Nigeria, there are three main types of media ownership; namely: government ownership, private ownership and partnership. In the case of government ownership, the government establishes, controls and finances the media outfit. Private ownership is when an individual or a group of people establish, control and finance the media outfit. In partnership, both government and private individuals are into some sort of co-ownership (Onukaba, 2005:3)

According to Ukonu (2005:35), “the history of Nigerian press can broadly be divided into four segments; these are the era of missionary journalism, the era of alien dominated press, the emergence of the indigenous press and the dawn of modern Nigerian newspapers”.

It is noteworthy to mention that ownership of media organization and the practice of

journalism in any of these periods were faced with difficulties. This was expectedly so because

of the harsh socio-political and economic milieu in which they operated.Anyanwu (1992:3)

captures this situation vividly when he states:

These early Nigerian newspapers were economically weak because their circulation was limited by low literacy, poor communication network, general poverty among the people and the political mood of the time which reflected largely in the treatment of the news by the newspapers. Since a majority of these newspapers received no subsidies from government, their earning capacity was limited and, consequently, their growth as business enterprise was adversely affected and, in some cases, completely crippled.

The  government  was  not  fully  involved  in  media  ownership  until  after  political

independence.Nigerian media witnessed a dramatic change in terms of orientation when the

government entered the industry. The period between 1960 and 1966 saw the emergence of

many government owned newspapers, among them was the Morning Post established by the

administration of Tafawa Belewa for the purpose of providing adequate and better and better

publicity for its activities.....


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