The media, on their part, have not been having it lightly from the government and By the foregoing, Isa's view reflects the relationship between Nigerian media Isa in Yusuff lends credence to this fact when he says, 'Within the old Yoruba. best known in the popular press for its large oil reserves, the corrupt use of high- maintaining the balance of civil/military relations, managing diversity, transitioning .. Shonekan (Christian Yoruba) is appointed as government caretaker. A multiplicity of media voices can be found in Nigeria largely because of the diversity of the Other dominant languages spoken are Hausa, Yoruba, Ibo, and Fulani. . reported serious reservations about Nigeria's government-press relations.
What should be the ideal relationship between government and the media at this critical juncture in the evolution of our country? Should the media remain in an adversarial mode, or be more conciliatory, lending a critical hand as the government strives to build a new country, devoid of official corruption, greed and rapacity, a land where peace and justice shall reign, and no man is oppressed? The Nigerian media has always played critical roles at different epochs in the history of the country.
Indeed, the media industry was virtually born into activism and stood to be counted in the colonial days, right through to Independence in We can recall the roles played by Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Ernest Ikoli, Anthony Enahoro, Mokwugo Okoye, and many others, in the march towards political independence, using the instrumentality of the media.
In the days of military rule, Nigerian journalists equally refused to be cowed. Even when their heads were bloodied, they remained unbowed. They were battered, bruised, jailed and even killed, but they remained resolute till democracy was restored in our country.
The media and the democratic process in Nigeria (1) By Professor Sam Oyovbaire
Can we ever forget the principled position taken by the media against the annulment of the election held on June 12,and won by Bashorun MKO Abiola? Not even the inscrutable expression of Gen Sani Abacha behind dark goggles was enough to frighten the media, though they paid heavy prices for their audacity.
There were long closures, leading to severe economic losses, intimidations, even deaths. Eventually, the country returned to democratic ways in and has been trudging on since then, with the media maintaining critical alertness as the watchdog of the society, demanding nothing but the best in democratic ethos and ideals. Thirty years after he had been ousted in a military coup, President Buhari rode back to power on the wings of change and popular acclaim, this year. And contrary to the disposition in his first coming, when he felt that freedom of the press must be tampered with, the President has turned full circle.
Nigerian Media and Indigenous Cultures Transformation: The Journey So Far
His democratic convictions have also come with a realization, understanding and appreciation of the roles of free media in the evolution of a new Nigeria. The President is now in a democratic mode, and has asked for the right hand of fellowship of the media. And, what has the government done to display sincerity, and set the tone for collaboration with the media? It is striving to engender an environment that encourages freedom of the press.
There is free access to information and no journalist is harassed or intimated, at least not from official circles. This will be maintained in the months and years ahead.
In fact, no effort will be spared to assist journalists do their work as professionally as possible. Permit me to sound like a salesman for a couple of minutes. Yes, as Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, I should be able to sell my principal and his ideals, or get the hell out of the job.
They sponsored all manner of falsehood and smear campaigns against the then APC candidate, Muhammadu Buhari. In fact, they were in mortal fear of the man, and threw everything at him, including the kitchen sink.
However, all the efforts failed. On TV, radio, in newspapers, on the Internet, despite the dangling of financial inducement and patronages, the yearnings of the Nigerian people were still clearly portrayed.
The rest, as they say, is history. Shortly after his election, President Buhari, in a meeting with the press, acknowledged the key role they played in bringing about the much desired change in the country. He thanked them for standing by him, for their support, even when he had no cash to dole out, unlike those he contested against. He also promised to work hand-in-hand with the press.
And that is where we are now, as the promises are being kept to the letter. Very significantly, on his very first day at the Presidential Villa, the President visited the State House Press Corps, where he interacted with them, and solicited their support.
In this dispensation, the public and the press can expect statements on any issue of national concern, without having to rely on speculation or rumor. It is the right of the public to know. And we, the media managers of the President, are guided by that fact. For us, it is a credo.
If any issue of national importance arises, you can be sure that a press statement would soon provide further information and clarity. Gradually, this strategy should soon lay to rest the sad culture of a section of the media publishing speculations that eventually turn out to be false.
There was also the fact that the origins and dominant location of the media created for it an instrument for the propagation of a role, which was nationalistic yet geo-politically partisan. This is the inheritance at independence in the relationship between the media and the political process. The media and its democratic mandate To speak of the mandate of the media in a democracy is to assign a constitutional role for it. It is indeed to proceed on the assumption that the media is a constitutional instrument or phenomenon.
Yet, in all Nigerian constitutions, the media is hardly mentioned in the manner in which the executive, legislature and judiciary on the one hand and the federal, the state and the local governments on the other are documented with legal instruments.
Be that as it may, the philosophy of modern governance and especially of modern democracy conceives the media as a monumental force and as an institution similar to the tiers of government in Nigerian federalism and to the arms of constitutional government. Historically, the development of modern democracy as a product predominantly of the French and American revolutions in the 18th century acknowledged the media as the fourth arm or realm of constitutional and democratic government.
In order words, it is difficult if indeed not impossible, to under-take a discourse on modern democracy and its practices without reference to the media.
The media and government: Partners in development or sworn adversaries?
In the Nigerian experience, and without having to go into constitutional history, the media was mentioned only in section 22 of the constitution as part of the fundamental objective and directive principles of the state policy. We completely agree with and endorse the relentlessness with which Prince Tony Momoh among other press intellectuals and practitioners of the media in expanding the role of the media in strengthening democracy and good governance.
In this connection, the obligation of the media as indicated in section 22 of the constitution, equally endows it with the duty not only to discharge its normal watchdog role in all aspects of governance and in guarding and advancing the frontiers of the people's liberties and freedoms but also the obligation to regard itself as "the policing institution over the fundamental objectives and Direct principles of state policy as well as the citizen's Fundamental Rights".
The fact that the constitution imposes a duty on the media to monitor governance implies that it should undertake vigilance over the relationship between the people and the government. How the media discharges these grave responsibilities which involve unfettered access to information is an interesting subject matter that should engage not only the media itself but also indeed all civil society actors, both domestic and international.
The point is that the media has a constitutional mandate in the advancement of the political and democratic process. It is equally true that the nature and character of the democratic process greatly impacts upon the performance of the media.
It is in this sense that the nature and character of military regime can affect tremendously the performance of the media just as the nature and character of a democratic regime can do the same.
Therefore, until it is fully researched and analysed, it is not enough to proclaim that democracy necessarily provides a much healthier environment for the media or that a military regime necessarily undermines or stifles the fundamental performance of the media. We have experienced in Nigeria's history instances in which government actors and functionaries within the democratic process had inflicted grave damage upon and constricted the press just as, naturally military rule generally and particularly under the horrible phases of faces of it under Sani Abacha and Muhammadu Buhari had brutalised the press and journalism.
Whether in a military rule or in a democratic regime, the media suffers a huge array of poverty and disabilities the elements of which include the political and business interests of its ownership or proprietorship, the extent of limitation of patronage and manipulation of market forces, location and cultural preferences, values of the target or readership audience, the work conditions and salary of journalists, and the staff of the industry all of which affect performance of the media in its relationship to the democratic process.
Some sociology of the media and the Nigerian society. Both in our endeavour to appreciate the limitations of the media in its relationship to the democratic process and in furtherance of the thesis of the lecture, we need to focus on the character of the Nigerian corporate society and that of the media. It is common knowledge that the Nigerian society since its foundations by colonisation and colonialism is highly and deeply complex and pluralistic. The development of the Nigerian State in the post-colonial period has added new dimensions to the complexity and pluralism.
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We can categorise the Nigerian corporate society along several lines. There is the dimension of the multiple ethnic nationalities and especially of the rate of transformation of each nationality into the mainstream of the political economy of capitalist development. While it may be easy to acknowledge the ethnological visibilities and boundaries of the Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo, it is certainly not easy to demarcate the boundaries of the minority ethnic nationalities.
The use of sociological, anthropological, cultural and linguistic classifications could assign as low as minority ethnic nationalities and as high as such groups in the country.
Geo-politically, the country used to be seen on the basis of north and south dichotomy; north, west and east trichotomy, and since when the defunct Mid-West region was created and more so since when the first wave of state creations was experienced, Nigeria today has a multichotomy of 36 internally complex and pluralistic states, local government areas and the Federal Capital territory.
There are the complexity and pluralism of religion, religious sensibilities and religious organisations. While it is generally acknowledged that the two imported religions of Christianity and Islam together with their denominational and intra-denominational divisions dominate the human landscape. They actually compete with the variety of traditional or indigenous religions so much so that certain individuals and families can, and do, transcend these religious terrain simultaneously depending on the locations of such individuals and families and the depth of their faith in God through appropriate instruments, or their level of ignorance, fears about the unknown and afflictions of various forces such as poverty, disease and ailment, environmental and family inheritances and spiritualities.
The development of the post-colonial state and of social relations of production has created additional complexity and pluralism in terms of social stratification, which cut across the other dimensions. In contemporary times, there is the pluralism of the very wealthy and the rich class as against the middle and lower classes, and as against the poor and the very poor.
There is pluralism of the powerfully organised capital both domestic and international as the employer classes as against organised and unorganised labour and working classes.
Global market forces have also introduced the elements of multi-national operators consisting of non-Nigerian and Nigerian actors against all other Nigerians. The importance of drawing attention to the above categories of the complexity and pluralism of the Nigerian corporate society is to relate them to the media in terms of how media coverage of news and the opinion formation affect or detract from the totality of the human landscape in the country.
The media and government: Partners in development or sworn adversaries? - Vanguard News Nigeria
More importantly, it is necessary to relate the complex Nigerian corporate society to the growth of the media itself in terms of world, the seminal history, we plotted earlier, that is, its dominantly geographical location from which it carries out its role and mandate and from which it derives the world-view that shapes the coverage of issues.
We have identified that the south-west of the country is the materialist location of the Nigerian media which coincides with the Yoruba nationality, early evangelisation of Christianity, propagation of western education and establishment of the seat of colonial and post-colonial government together with the large and flourishing market forces and patronage which aided the locational stimuli of the media.
The readership audience for marketing its role, mandate and products was the South West initially, and even when in contemporary times other audiences could be located outside the South West, this historical location continued to provide the arrowhead for opinion formation, legitimisation of media contents, agitation and agenda-setting.
From this perspective, as we have argued earlier in this presentation, the media is highly rooted in south-western Nigeria or in the famous Lagos-Ibadan axis which, to repeat ourselves, provides the materialist base for the world-view of the media What about the complexity or pluralism of the media? There is no doubt that the press has been transformed tremendously in structure, number of outlets, contents and out-reach since its narrow and localised appearance in Abeokuta and Lagos during the second half of the 19th century.
Until the broadcast or electronic media was deregulated by the Ibrahim Babangida military regime inthe print media was dominated by the private sector or private ownership, especially in its impact upon civil society.