CONSTITUTIONAL JUSTIFICATION FOR PRESS FREEDOM IN NIGERIA


CONSTITUTIONAL JUSTIFICATION FOR PRESS FREEDOM IN NIGERIA 

ABSTRACT

In this study, Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria States that the press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people. Thus the 1999 Constitution acknowledges that media, being the watch-dog of the society is the main vehicle by which rulers misdeeds. The developmental function and roles of the media include gathering and dissemination of information, verification of news, education and enlightenment of the people, shaping of public opinion, setting of national agenda, safeguarding of right of individuals, interests, groups, advertisement of good and services etc. saddled with this responsibility, the media cannot function effectively without proper legal backing. Chapter two of the 1999 Constitution on which Section 22 rests is filled with laudable provisions which in Nigeria are non justifiable. Since 1960, Nigeria press cannot be said to have enjoyed unrestricted Freedom. Freedom is not clearly spelt out in the 1999 Constitution. The situation was not better under military. Till date, Nigeria is yet to enact a law on Freedom of information. A media that is not accurate, factual, detailed and authoritative cannot lay claim to holding public officials accountable, because its own sense of accountability can easily be challenged. These form the focus of this paper. Recommendations will be made on the way forward.

TABLE OF CONTENT   

Title page    i

Certification    ii

Dedication    iii

Acknowledgment iv

Table of contents    v-vi

Abstract    vii

Chapter one   

1.0    Introduction    1

1.1    Background of the study    1

1.2    Statement of the research problem    2

1.3    Objective of the study    2

1.4    Significance of the study    3

1.5    Research questions    3

1.6    Research hypotheses    3

1.7    Scope of the study    4

1.8    Limitation of the study    4

1.9    Definition of terms    4

Chapter Two   

2.0    Literature review    6

2.1    Introduction    6

2.2    The constitution and the mass media    6-8

2.2.1    The constitution and press freedom in Nigeria    8-1

2.2.2    Ownership of the press, Self-Censorship and Hegemony 11

2.2.3    Constitution and political constraints of press freedom 11-12

2.2.4    Constitutional Constraints    12

2.2.5    English Law applied to Nigeria    12-15

2.2.6 Press council degree    15-16

Chapter Three: Research Methodology   

3.0    Introduction    17

3.1    Population size    17

3.2    Sample size    17

3.3    Sampling method    17-18

3.4    Questionnaire    18

3.5    Validity of the researcher    18

Chapter Four   

4.1    Data presentation, analysis and results    19-21

4.1    Analysis and interpretation of data    21-22

4.2    Discussion of findings    22-23

Chapter Five

5.0    Conclusion, recommendation and Suggestion for further research    24

5.1    Conclusions    24-25

5.3    Recommendation    25-26

    Questionnaire    27-29

    References    30

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The importance of the press for any democratic society or society aspiring to be democratic is no longer debatable. In our recent history as a people we can easily point to the patriotic role played by the press in scuttling the inglorious agenda at self-perpetuation in office and in power by certain military and civilian Presidents. The judiciary occupies a high pedestal in the scheme of liberal democracy. Thus, court proceedings on important constitutional issues that impact the building of that democracy are crucial. This explains why generally the constitution provides that cases shall be heard in public.

Freedom of the press and freedom of speech are related components or subsets of the wider freedom of expression which is one of the fundamental ingredients of liberal democracy. Indeed, scholars like Henrik Berglund rightly see liberal rights as integral part of liberal democracy. Liberal democracy essentially promises equality of citizenship and civil or individual freedoms. These promises are supposed to be realized through the mediation of the state and its institutions or agencies by organizing periodic elections and affording mechanisms for the enjoyment of civil freedoms. Over time direct participation, in the Athenian sense, has come to be replaced with indirect representation with the result that citizens become less equal or lose their autonomy. The tendency is for the majority of the citizens who are represented in decision making or Constitution making institutions of state by a tiny fraction of the.

It is therefore useful to examine freedom of the press in the context of the promise and problems of liberal democracy. But this project research would be unhelpful without posing the practical question ultimately whether countries like Nigeria are moving towards

liberal democracy in spite of the problems of the latter. The central argument here is that although freedom of the press may not necessarily lead to equality and indeed may exacerbate inequality in society, equality and social justice would be impossible without it.

The research study will look in to the justification of Nigeria constitution, the press laws and press freedom. Vital recommendation and conclusion on study are suggested at concluding chapter of the project work.

1    STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM

Press freedom in Nigeria in facing various problems in the

democratic  constitution  of  the  federal  republic.  Some  of  these

problems are:

1.    Constitutional and political instability that have existed in Nigeria since independence in 1960.

2.    They have also been inhibited by the pattern of media ownership.

3.    As a young nation with a multi-ethnic structure, Nigeria has experienced sporadic changes in political leadership. As a result, several laws have been made to directly or indirectly censor the Nigerian press.

1.2    OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The researcher’s objective is to conduct an in-depth research on the constitutional justification and press freedom in Nigeria with an insight to determine and trace how the constitution of Nigeria restraints press freedom in the country and discusses the political structure and how the frequent changes of political leadership of the nation affect the country's mass media of communication.

It also examines the constraints brought about by the pattern of media ownership which is tied to the politics of Nigeria.

1.3    SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

1.    The research will help in possible dilution, domination and finally absorption of the constitutional justification of press freedom in Nigeria which until the present has been characterized with many issues.

2.    It will enable the government and policy makers to put adequate measures in place to check the freedom of information bill and press freedom.

3.    The conduct of this research will enable the government to know what role a reasonable press law can play in the development of a country and therefore, harness the mass media policies in the democratic process and development process in general.

1.4    RESEARCH QUESTIONS

1.    To what extent has the constitution supported press freedom in Nigeria?

2.    To what extent is the Nigeria press free to operate?

3.    To what extent has the press being able to contradict liberal democracy on freedom of information and expression in Nigeria?

1.5    RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

Hi: Effective press law will lead to freedom of press

Ho: Effective press law will not lead to freedom of press.

Hi: The freedom of press is the basis from mass development and justice in Nigeria economy.

Ho: The freedom of press is the not the basis from mass development and justice in Nigeria economy.

1.6    SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The scope of this study is to find out how some of the constraints on efforts to formulate comprehensive mass media policies and press freedom in Nigeria. It reviews the constitutional and political environment of the mass media and journalistic practice in Nigeria and identifies legal, economic, historical, linguistic and cultural factors which impede the development of the mass media and constrain their performance.

It is also the scope of this study to argue that antagonisms between politicians and journalists have led to government nationalization and control of the mass media thus marginalizing the role of journalists as watchdogs on government conduct of public affairs.

1.7    LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

Though this research work is on the constitutional justification of press freedom, it is limited to Nigeria press law, constitution and mass media, using journalist that randomly selected from media houses and fifty questionnaires were distributed to them. This is because of time and resource, had it been that time and resource were available similar studies would have been done in other African country and even the world at large so as to ensure a more embracing result.

1.8    DEFINITIONS OF THE TERMS

JOURNALIST: A journalist collects and disseminates information about current events, people, trends, and issues. His or her work is acknowledged as journalism.

REPORTER: Reporters are one type of journalist. They create reports as a profession for broadcast or publication in mass media such as newspapers, television, radio, magazines, documentary film, or the Internet. Reporters find sources for their work, their reports can be either spoken or written, and they are often expected to report in the most objective and unbiased way to serve the public good POLITICAL FREEDOM: Political freedom, or political agency, is a central concept in Western history and political thought, and one of the most important (real or ideal) features of democratic societies.[1] It has been described as a relationship free of oppression[2] or coercion;[3] the absence of disabling conditions for a particular group or individual and the fulfillment of enabling conditions;[4] or the absence of economic compulsion.

PRESS: The press is those elements of the mass media that focus on delivering news to the general public or a target public. These include print media (newspapers, newsmagazines), broadcast news (radio and television), and more recently the Internet (online newspapers, news blogs, etc.

CONSTITUTION: A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is. When these principles are written down into a single or set of legal documents, those documents may be said to comprise a written constitution

JUSTIFICATION: Justification may refer to a part of epistemology that attempts to understand the justification of propositions and beliefs

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CONSTITUTIONAL JUSTIFICATION FOR PRESS FREEDOM IN NIGERIA



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