This study,THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA IN DEMOCRATIC SUSTENANCE IN NIGERIA: A CASE STUDY OF THE 2015 GENERAL ELECTION contains concise information that will serve as a framework or guide for your project work. The project study is well-researched for academic purposes and are usually provided in complete chapters with adequate References.
The media has always played a role in the sustenance of the type of government being operated in any nation. This is why it is synonymously referred to as ‘The fourth estate of the realm’. It’s expected to be not only to be the voice of the citizens but a platform where both government and the governed interact and ensure the continuous existence and growth of such a nation. Development in technology and subsequently the creation of the new media forms due to the financial status of the citizens has not stopped those in government who are connected to these social media forms from being criticized and abused by their follower and political enemies without any means of bringing such individuals to book as there is no structure to gate keep the content on different social media.This project looks at how the social media can be used to sustain and promote the democratic governance in Nigeria. It is hinged on the governed can use the social media for the betterment of the nation and not just to pass wrong information or promote propaganda.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Background of the Study
Statement of the problem
Purpose of the Study
Scope of the Study
Definition of Terms
DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS, RECOMMENDATION AND CONCLUSION
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Of the different organs that make up any modern day society, one organ whose importance can never be over emphasized is the mass media. Little wonder the mass media has been described as the fourth estate of the realm that is after the executive, legislative and judicial arms of government in any democratic society. In the contemporary world, one form of government that continues to enjoy widespread support and acceptance is democracy.
In Nigeria where attempts is still being made to properly entrench the norms of democracy, the mass media no doubt have played varying roles and is still playing it in this noble area of strengthening the democratic process. As McQuail (2000) rightly noted, the basic role of the mass media in any society is to inform, educate and entertain. Suarez (1978) went a step further by stating that in a democratic environment, the role of the press (mass media) extends beyond these basic functions. The media in addition to these basic roles have the responsibility of sustaining and nourishing the ideas of democratic ethos, and to constantly assure and guaranty the protection of freedom of individuals and that of the media themselves, which is the heart of the popular participation in liberal democracies (quoted in Isola, 2008).
Siebert, Palterson and Schramm (1963) also assert that the mass media across the nations therefore saddle themselves with the responsibility of monitoring governance, protecting the interests and rights of the weak in the society and advocating for the issues and causes that enhances the growth and development of the society within which they operate (quoted in Isola, 2008). Within the Nigerian context, various attempts have often been made to clarify what exactly the role of the mass media is in the process of consolidating democratic values. The question is that to what extent has the mass media been able to live up to this noble responsibility?.
As Oseni (2005) puts it ‘’Democracy and journalism (mass media) are soul mates’’. You really cannot have one without the other. It is only a democratic environment that can foster the best journalism (mass media). Just as democracy itself can never take root nor be nurtured in an atmosphere inimical to the provision of alternative choice which journalism (mass media) promotes ‘. The morning of Saturday 29th May 1999 saw Nigeria return to another experiment at democratic norms and institutions with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo sworn in as President and Commander-in-Chief of the nation’s armed forces. Ever since, the polity has been awash as different policies, strategies and programmes aimed at consolidating the process, entrench the values of democracy into the system and laying a solid foundation for its sustainability.
It is now seventeen years into Nigeria’s Fourth Republic, it then becomes imperative to consider how the mass media have lived up to the billing in the task of the evolving a sustainable democratic process. Section 22 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria specifically assigns a noble role to the mass media within the democratic arena. 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 of the (Constitution, 1999) The essence of this therefore is to again revisit the issues of the roles that mass media are expected to play in the strive to attain a more stable and matured level in the democratic process with the emphasis on the fourth attempt at democratic form of governance in Nigeria. Emphasis is laid on the challenges the mass media have had to battle with in asserting the roles and how these challenges can be completely dealt with.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In Nigeria, there have been tales of government officials and elected representatives of the people deliberately embarking on actions that serve as obstacles to the mass media from being able to play its role effectively. They have made attempts at ensuring that the mass media dance to their tune. The polity has been awash with cases of threats, dubious legislation, intense regulation and censorship as well as unmitigated records of records of violation of press freedom.
HYPOTHESIS/ RESEARCH QUESTIONS
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The objectives of the study are to;
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study focuses on the Fourth Republic in Nigeria which spans from May 29, 1999 till date. It takes care of the first seventeen years period which spans from 1999 to 2016. The main area of focus is the print (representing newspapers and magazines) and electronic media (radio and television). And since it is nearly impossible to cover the whole of the country because of some limitations, Osun, one of the thirty six states that make up the country is focused upon.
The study area of this research work was carried out in Nigeria and some selected media houses in Nigeria.
The questionnaires were used to collect data on some data such as ; Do you think that in Nigeria the media should have more freedom, less freedom, or the same amount of freedom?
The target population of the study was all the registered media houses in Nigeria, Anambra state for the sake of proximity.
A stratified purposive sampling technique was adopted for the study to enhance objectivity and ensure sample taken actually replicates the characteristics of the population.
To ensure that the respondents had the freedom to respond truthfully and responsively, they were given the option to either respond immediately or later which gives them the opportunity to reflect on the questionnaires and respond at their most convenient time and conviction. Those who had problems in filling the questionnaires were carefully guided to ensure that whatever they filled would correspond to their true perception of the issues raised. All these efforts were made to ensure the correctness and authenticity of the responses and also to guarantee consistency and completeness in the responses as well as to ensure that the inferences to be drawn were based on the facts on ground and not mere speculations or hearsay.
In the course of gathering data, we went to a media house for an interview with some media practitioner on issues relating to the project topic. Other sources include newspaper, magazines and journal publications.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Below constitutes the conceptual frame work for the conduct of this research:-
Mass Media, according to the African Leadership Forum through their publication, Farm House Dialogue; The Media in Democracy (1991) refers to any agency, modern or international that operates for the articulation and dissemination of ideas and information, generally with intent to influence or control an audience or the institutions that constitute legalized power or authority.
The Special Price Edition of the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary defines Mass Media as the means of communicating with the large number of people, e.g newspaper, television and radio.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in a publication titled ‘’Behavior Change through Mass Communication’’ also describe mass media as methods of communications that reach large groups of people quickly and effectively. Such methods of communication can include radio, television, newspaper, magazines, music, traditional theatre, advertising, marketing and publicity.
Although they don’t necessary translate to exactly the same thing in that mass media is more encompassing, mass media is used interchangeably with ‘’PRESS’’ and ‘’JOURNALISM’’ in the course of this work, Svetlozar Andreev (2002) talks about two varieties of media: two of the basic distinctions between the various kinds of the media system are between (a) Public and Private and between (b) Printed and Broadcast media.
The meaning of the word democracy is best captured in the thoughts of Idowu A.A (2008)
–In the world of today, democracy has become a popular concept in every contemporary discourse. It is now a word that resonates in the people’s mind and springs from their lips as they struggle for freedom and for a better way of life. In its Greek understanding, the term democracy originally referred to the right of the citizens of the Greek City states to participate directly in the act of governance. The word ‘’DEMOCRACY’’ is known to have been coined from two Greek words: demos (people) kratos (rule) which simply means people’s rule. It is an institution of governance which envisages a popular government as practiced in ancient Greece. Although the conditions in a modern state make direct participation of all the people in the Government of the state impossible, the concept of democracy still emphasizes the rule of the people, in that, sovereign is exercised exercised by the people but now indirectly through a system of representation. The people choose their representatives who then govern in their name. In a democracy, power resides in the people and belongs to the people. In a democracy, the people own the government, and not government owning the people. A democracy is thus distinguished from a Monarchy (the rule of a Monarch) or Aristocracy (the rule of the privileged class) or an Oligarchy (the rule of a Junta).
Larry Diamond (2008) offers a similar meaning to the concept of democracy, at a minimum, democracy is a system of government in which all (or virtually all) adult citizens can choose their leaders and replace their leaders in regular, free, fair, and competitive (multiparty) elections. The Special Price Edition of the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary however sees democracy as a system of government by all the people of a country, usually through representatives, whom they elect, thought of as allowing freedom of speech, religion and political opinion.
Democratization on the other hand is said to be a process of making a country or an institution more democratic. That is, moving the ladder in entrenching democratic norms and values in the polity or system. Ifeanacho and Nwagwu (2009) offer a more explanation of what democratization entails, ‘’Democratization is more appropriately viewed as the institutionalization of democratic principles as part of everyday culture in a society. It finds expression in the channeling of behavioral patterns towards democratic ideals. It permeates all facets of community life from religion through economy, marriage, family to politics. These institutions legitimize the activities of those who exercise authority. If these institutions are absent, militarism might be misconstrued for democratization.
The freedom of the press according to Ogunsiji (quoted in Owolabi, 2008) means allowing the press to perform its traditional role of keeping the masses informed about events taking place within or outside their immediate community without any hindrance, harassment or legal or social constraints. Oloyede (1996) puts it this way, regardless of the ideological differences in the various socio-political systems of the world, press freedom – a logical extension of man’s inalienable freedom of expression – is today a universal phenomenon. Globally and ideally guaranteed by Article 19nof the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is enshrined in the constitution of almost all countries with written constitution and customarily observed by societies, exemplified by Britain, which have no written constitution.
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