EFFECT OF NEWS COMMERCIALIZATION ON THE CONTENT OF PRIVATE MEDIA
Commercialization of news began in Nigerian media houses as a result of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) introduced in 1986 and the eventual withdrawal of subsidies from government owned media houses see Ekwo (1996) and Ogbuoshi (2005). With the increasing rise in production cost and dwindling circulation, the media houses resort to all kinds of tricks including commercialization of the news to make money (Oso, 2000). Majority of the respondent admitted that media houses kills hard news to accommodate commercial stories. The situation has led to a lot of compromise, with sensationalisation of news stories and half-truths reaching alarming stage. Citing an instance with the Daily Times, a one time leading newspaper in Nigeria, Idowu (2001:15) noted the situation became so bad that: This commercialization at the institutional level is thriving because editors, publishers and owners of the broadcast stations/ print media see the organizations, or their investment, as a profit making venture that should yield the required financial return. Increasingly, commercial-oriented news stories are taking the place of hard news reports. Hanson (2005: 140) is right when he notes that: "reporters and editors are supposed to be concerned not with profits but rather with reporting the news as best they can. But that barrier is coming down, and editors are increasingly looking at their newspaper as a product that should appeal to advertisers as well as readers. Therefore, this work focuses on the effects of news commercialization on the contents of private media with Africa Independent Television (AIT), Lagos and Nigeria Tribune as case study.
Table of Contents
Table of contents
1.1 Background to the Study
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Research Questions
1.4 Purpose of the Study
1.5 Significant of the Study
1.6 Scope of the Study
1.7 Limitations to the Study
1.8 Operational Definition of the Terms CHAPTER TWO
2.1 Literature Review
2.1 Meaning of News
2.2 Mass Media:
2.3 History of Print Media in Nigeria
2.4 History of Broadcast Media
2.5 Nigeria Perspective
2.6 Issues in Private Broadcasting
2.7 Media Ownership
2.8 History of Private Broadcasting Station in Nigeria
2.9 Nigeria Constitution and Media Law
2.10 Brief History of African Independent Television (AlT)
2.11 Organizational Profile
2.12 The Concept of News Commercialization
2.13 News Commercialization, Ethics and Objectivity in Journalism Practice in Nigeria
2.14 News Commercialization Operates at Two Levels in Nigeria
2.15 Why does news commercialization thrive in Nigeria?
2.16 An Irresponsible Press?
2.18 News Commercialization: Any Gains?
2.19 Ethical Implications of News Commercialization
2.20 Public Opinion and Media
2.21 Theoretical Framework
3.0 Research Methodology
3.1 Restatement of Research Questions
3.2 Research Design
3.3 Characteristics of the Study Population
3.4 Sampling Design Procedure
3.5 Sampling Size
3.6 Data Collection Instrument
3.7 Validity and Reliability of Study Instrument
3.8 Administration of Data Collection Instrument
3.9 Rate of Return of Questionnaire
3.10 Data Analysis Procedure
4.0 Data Presentation and Analysis
4.1 Data Analysis and Table
4.2 Answer to Research Questions
5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations
This work intends to assess the effect of news commercialization on news credibility in the broadcast media, with particular reference to Africa Independent Television and Nigerian Tribune using them as a case study.
The study intends to find out whether the commercialization of news affects its credibility and objectivity and equally to know if it encourages the “Brown envelope syndrome”, accuracy, balance, fairness etc. whether those who cannot afford to pay the media have the opportunity and chances to broadcast their events on air via Mass media of communication, such as the electronic broadcast media.
This study, will also enable the researcher to known if the news managers, News editors and Reporters (journalists) persistently carry out their gate – keeping roles and at the same time still carry out their watchdog roles.
In other words, whether they still maintain the ethics and laws of the profession or not or they are being influenced by the news sponsors and their money.
The study will also endeavour to find if the audience / public have it in mind that the news they read in newspapers and watch in these broadcast media are owned and are paid for by the sponsors since they are not usually mentioned during news broadcasting and information dissemination.
Statements of the Research Problems
Critics have identified distortion of news, imbalanced report and the growing tendency for the public not to believe the media news (lack of objectivity) as major problems inherent in Africa Independent Television and Nigerian Tribune for news and other information.
This is the key problems the researcher wishes to establish is this research work.
Objectivity as an ethical standard is one of the most pervasive in all of journalism. Objectivity in news gathering and presentation is the reporters’ aims and objectives.
Objectives of the Study
The core aims and objectives of this study is to assess the credibility of broadcast news in both Africa Independent Television and Nigerian Tribune since its partial commercialization brought the emergence of news commercialization.
Policy of commercialization is not for private and cooperate organizations to be stake holders in media organization but for such means to be sources of fund for the running of the activities of the media, for the fact that government subventions is sacredly less to keep the organizations afloat. Therefore, the standard set up on news commercialization is another means by which funds can be raised within the media, for the upkeep of the activities.
What is being argued here is that, the media should made commercial news known for the audience, for them to be aware that news they listened to at that point in time is sponsored, by an unidentified people.
What the researcher meant is that the paid news and news not paid should be distinguished.
Observations made are shown that there are limitations in gate keeping functions of the editor. “The gate keeper is any person or formally organized group directly involved in relaying or bans ferry information from one individual to another through any medium of mass communication.” Such person or individual has the ability to limit the information the public receive by editing the information, before it is disseminated.
The researcher equally wants to find out whether the above mentioned is practiced, for the fact that news paid for are edited as the sponsor wanted.
The following questions will be asked by the researcher:
What is the effect of news commercialization on the perceived “Brown envelope syndrome” and how has it affected the news credibility of these media?
Has news commercialization, deprived those who cannot afford the stipulated amount access to media? Has the gate-keeping role being restricted because of news commercialization?
4. Do the audience know that the news they watch on AIT and read on
Nigerian Tribune are paid for?
Significance of the Study
The significant of this study aims at revealing to the media practitioners
and broadcast students, the importance of commercialization to the media and professionalism. The study of commercialization in media houses will assist the concept and to know its role in enhancing the success or failure of broadcasting industries.
Purpose of the Study
A lot has been said about commercialization on the contents of private media, however, little is known about ratifications and implications of the organization of this measure and how far it has affected or will affect the operation of the organization, their performances and fulfillment of their obligations and responsibility to the Nigerian public.
Scope of the Study
Although, the primary aims and objectives of the project are to examine
the effect of commercialization on the content of private media, this can not be effectively talked without considering the demographic factor of AIT and Nigerian tribune staffs and sample number of the public that respond to the questionnaire of this study. Experience, education background, professional training, age, sex e. t. c must be considered before the distribution of research instruments.
Limitations of the Study
The study concentrates mostly on credibility and objectivity of news in Africa Independent Television and Nigerian Tribune. These factors will be linked up with the brown envelope syndrome amongst journalists and news editors. Time constraint has posed a lot of limitations to this work, inadequate finance of this project is another hindrance. This project is also limited to AIT and Nigerian Tribune where all findings would be generalized.
Definition of the Terms
Commercialization: It is a kind of dourness of fund from sales. Where money in generated from something in form of sales. A situation whereby the broadcast media generate income from the news by selling air time for news instead of broadcasting the news based on accepted news values.
Credibility: Credibility is which can be believed operational definition. Audience acceptance to believe the news contents of the broadcast media.
Gate Keeping: Any person or formally organized group directly involved in relaying or disseminating information from one individual to another mass medium. Mass media audience perception of gate keepers incapability to limit information, removal of unwanted areas of the news story and to widen paid stories in the broadcast media.
Brown Envelope : A means by which news sponsors give money inform of bribe to journalist and editors. Audience view that editors and journalists collect money in terms of bribe from news sponsors, thereby preventing them from carrying out their unique roles unbiased.
Objectivity: Not being influenced by personal feelings, ideas, or bias. A state of being influenced by personal feelings or bias.
Meaning of News
News according to the advanced learner’s dictionary means, a new or
fresh information, reports of recent events. It has so many different definitions. From different authors and scholars.
According to Ude in his book introduction to Reporting and news writing 1998 defined news “as the timely report of facts or opinions that hold interests or importance or both for a considerable number of people.” Also, Ukozor 2003 in her book: Fundamentals of interpretative and investigative Reporting, defined news “as something new and unusual. Stressing further, news according to Kamath (1980: 33) “is any event, ideas or opinions that is timely, interests, or affects a large number of people in a community and that is capable of being understood by them”.
The standardized criteria judging news value as discussed by Ukozor encompassed the followings: consequences impact, prominence, timeliness, Action, novelty, conflict, Human interest, and currency. – Consequence is the most important criterion in determining news value. It has to do with news events that affect the lives of the largest number of people. It should be considered at every level, both for good news and bad. It is the grater effects.
Prominence deals on the well known people (important personalities), institutions in the society etc. proximity bothers on the events that happened within the locality of the audience.
Timeliness means that news should be reported to the public which it is fresh e as soon as it unfolds lest it become stale news.
Novelty means the unusual or odd issues that happened in the society (oddity). Human interest has to do with stories that most often touch human feelings.
However, news gathering is a work of mass media who cover the most interesting stories events in society on behalf of the public , it later publish or broadcast such to the public again after refine it.
Mass Media Can be explained as a means or channels through which messages or information are transferred or disseminate to a wider and larger heterogeneous audience who are residing in a diverse location such channels is usually categorized into two I.e. electronic or broadcast media represented by the radio and television while the print media is represented by newspapers and magazine.
Newspaper- This is a daily record of events. It is a journal that reports daily occurrences. It is published and circulated daily. According to Section2 of the Newspaper Act of 1958, A Newspaper can be defined as any paper containing public news, intelligence or any remarks, observations and comments, thereon printed for sale and published.
Magazine- This is a paper covered periodicals containing stories, particles, advertisements, photographs and others illustrations supplied by writers and other for publication.
It should be noted that both Newspaper and Magazine are Print Media. If to analyze according to the history of the Print Media or Print Journalism, print journalism started in Great Britain in the 1620s when correspondent were employed by some English countrymen to inform them about various event and court cases going on in London. Information were made available through letters once a week, the letters were known as “News Letter” Ogunsiji (1989). He further explained that those print media seem to have begun in the Netherlands and Germany. Infant, the earlier Newspaper industry in Germany was reportedly traced to 1609.
5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations
What this research work set out to achieve was to investigate “the challenges facing freedom of information in Nigeria”. The intention to embark on this study was to discover the extent this phenomenon has gone in affecting the performance of the Nigerian press.
This research was conducted using the survey research method, whereby a sample of the entire population was randomly selected. A total of one hundred questionnaires were administered to 100 respondents as selected from AIT and Nigeria Tribune, 50 copies to each of the medium. The percentage and simple table were used in analyzing the data collected.
Having considered the in depth background study of the sample used in this research, the review of the various related literatures, studies and theories in this field, using the appropriate measuring instrument in testing and analyzing the different questions formulated for the study i.e percentage and simple table, it is therefore, clear that lack of press freedom has a tremendous and negative impact on the performance of the Nigerian press. This is clear from the findings of the researcher and this is supported by the results obtained.
This research work is concluded based on the responses obtained
from respondents. It can therefore be said that the effect of government and ownerships infringement on press freedom has negative effective on the press, it has also been to discredit of the Nigerian press, this affecting the performance, as well as growth of the journalistic profession and thereby affect national development.
In spite of the turbulent circumstances in which Nigeria press finds itself, it will continue to be the mouthpiece of the people because
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 out the administrative gimmicks of the government and inform the public.
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 to 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 ensure 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, journalists continue to be harassed and killed for their work, autocratic leaders cling to laws designed to shied them from scrutiny by their constituents; and citizens often are unable to assert their rights to access information needed to make good decisions.
Though the incidence of harassment and detention of journalists 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 events in the last two years.
The press, which is referred to as fourth estate of the realm, is assumed to be the arbiter, the umpire and its existence is a check on the 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.
MacBride et al (1980:214) asserted that “the press has been described as fourth estate because full and accurate information on matters of public interest is the means by which governments, institutions, organizations and all others in authority at whichever level are held accountable to and by the public. Nevertheless, those in authority often tend to conceal that which is inconvenient or likely to arouse public Opinion against them.”
It is hoped that with the new freedom of information law, journalists and media practitioners will have more power and more strength and right to access government document thereby enable the general public to get better information.
The result obtained from this project work enabled the researcher establish that there is an over-whelming effect which government actions against the press exert on the performance of the press. As an institution, it strongly recommended therefore:-
That government should exercise restraint on relationship with the Nigerian press and should adopt the use of law-court in settling disputes with the press, rather than the use of repressive measures.
That a very strong press council with independent power be established to act as the final arbiter between the press and government, as well as others concerned with complaints against the press. Codes of professional ethics as they presently exist, should be further strengthened so that practitioners get acquainted with them. It is clear that many journalists lack adequate knowledge of ethics guiding the journalistic profession.
Government should educate itself on the onerous task the press carry out in the society and realize that instead of being warring parties, they could be partners.
The researcher also recommends a follow-up to substantiate the effect which infringement on press freedom exert on national development. This is based on the fact that it will be aimed at
discovering if the phenomenon has affected the economic, social, political and technological advancement of the country.
Another research could be conducted to find out if the press through its activities in Nigeria, has in any way endangered national security. It will enable the researcher find out if government is justified in any way by its actions against the press.
The study should be repeated under different condition, in a different city on area, using a different population. This will also help to see if the same result could be obtained..