INFLUENCE OF OWNERSHIP ON JOURNALIST PRACTICES ( A STUDY OF SELECTED NEWSPAPER IN NIGERIA)

Abstract
This study was undertaken to examine to effects of ownership in journalist practices. 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 effects of ownership in journalist practices to determine if, the news covered is owner’s interest or public’s interest oriented. A survey of the selected newspapers 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, journalist practices 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 journalist practices. 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.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the study
The term mass media according to the definition given by Head and Sterling (1982:22), “mass media are those means of communication that use technology to reach large parts of the population almost simultaneously with the kind of news and entertainment that ordinary people can afford to pay”. According to La’aro, (2004:1), the mass media are an important component of mass communication in disseminating symbol content to a large heterogeneous and widely dispersed audience.

The media is grouped into print and broadcast media. The print media include: newspapers, magazines, pamphlet, books, et cetera, while the broadcast media consist of radio and television. The establishment of “Iweiroyin fun awonegbaati Yoruba” by Reverend Henry Townsend in Abeokuta in 1859 marked the birth of newspaper in Nigeria. The radio on the other hand, started in Nigeria in 1936 through the distribution of programmes emanating from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) In London as part of its overseas services to Lagos, Kano and Ibadan under the arrangement referred to as Rediffusion. Similarly, in 1959, the Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service (WNBS) was established by Chief Obafemi Awolowo as the first television station in Nigeria and in Africa.

In a democratic society, the media is referred to as the “Fourth Estate of the Realm”. This means that after the Executive arm, Legislative, Judiciary, the media comes next. Edmund Burke made this assertion in one of the proceedings of the British Parliament after he had mentioned the three well known estates of the realms, the lords spiritual, the lords temporal and the commons. He pointed to the press gallery and added, “And yonder sits the Fourth Estate, more important of them all”. President J.F Kennedy’s remark on the American press that the president reigns for four years but journalists govern forever also confirmed the fact that the media is a partner in progress with the government and not a tool. The broad functions of the media are to act as watch-dog over the government, safeguarding the rights of the individual and reporting events accurately, objectively and without bias or prejudice.

However, media ownership tends to have influence on their performance as the “Fourth Estate of the realm”. The degree of freedom of the government-owned media cannot be compared with those of private-owned media. Many research works for instance have shown that government owned media deliberately avoid criticism of government action and play down stories capable of exposing government secrets event when the public interest requires that such story be told to the public. The Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) for example will never transmit any report revealing the secrets or criticizing any action of the Federal Government. The private media even though not entirely free from this fault, Buhari certificate forgery by the news magazine.

Government-owned media are purposely set up to give maximum publicity to the government and its activities and any journalist who does not want to lose his/her job must keep to the policy. This policy also operates in Lagos State where the Horizon and Premium Times must not criticize the government of the day even when the interest of the public is at stake. A good example is the mass sack of civil servants including staff of Horizon and Premium Times during the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola. The station is being accused at the moment by people especially from the opposing party to the incumbent Governor of being the government stooge parroting the government voice and praise singing it. This propelled us into embarking on this research work to find out the effects of ownership on the performance of Horizon and Premium Times.

1.2 Statement of the Problem
The broadcast industries in Nigeria especially the government owned have been accused of dancing to the whims and caprices of the various governments owning them. This has greatly affected their performances in the society as the Fourth estate of the realm serving as watchdog against the government. The purpose of this study therefore, is to examine the effects of the Lagos State government on the performance of Horizon and Premium Times.

• Objectives of the Study
This research is up to achieve the following objectives:

• To find out the effects of ownership or leadership on journalist practices in Premium Times and Horizon.

• To find out whether news covered (coverage) is people’s interest oriented or owner’s interest oriented.

• To ascertain the effects of gate keepers on journalist practices.

• To try to make suggestions in likely areas of recommendation and improvement.

• 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 gate keeper influence journalist practices?

• What are the suggested areas of recommendation and improvement?

• 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 professionalism.

H1: Ownership or leadership of a media house has influences on journalist practices.

Ho: The news coverage of Horizon is not owner’s interest oriented instead of people’s interest oriented.

H2: The news coverage of Horizon is owner’s interest oriented instead of people’s interest oriented.

1.6 Significance of Study
This study will show the effects of ownership on journalist practices. And it shall also be of benefit to the regular user of the broadcast like Advertisers, Sponsor, Broadcasters, Reporters, General audience, NGOs etc. This study therefore, is to examine the effects of the Federal government on the performance of the staff in the Horizon and Premium Times.

1.7 Scope of Study
The scope of this research study will cover programmes and news department of the Horizon and Premium Times. as a case study. It involves the influence, effects and impact of ownership on professionalism in the Horizon and Premium Times. It also covers the control of Horizon and Premium Times staff by its ownership.

1.7 Limitations
The research study is limited to Horizon and Premium Times, and faces a lot of constrains: among these are the problems of time factor, problem of getting necessary information from the respondents, problem of sourcing for secondary data i.e. Relevant past work and inadequate fund to finance the research work. These factors will make it difficult to cover all the areas relevant to this study.

• Operational Definition of Terms
• Influence: means the influence of the government’s ownership or leadership on Horizon news coverage Lagos.

• Media: the media are tools of communication Horizon 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: ownership means the legal right to possess something.

It is the ownership of a media house especially the ownership of the Horizon station Lagos that manipulates the performance, news coverage and other programs of Horizon.

• 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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Item Type: Project Material  |  Attribute: 57 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: N3,000  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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