ROLE OF NEWSPAPER IN THE POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT OF NIGERIA (A case study of the Guardian Newspaper)

CHAPTER ONE

1.0    Introduction

1.1    Background to the Study

The important role media plays in fostering an environment of good governance and political awareness needs hardly be emphasized. As the watchdog and interpreter of public issues and events, the media has a special role in every society. In our information-based society the media has a disproportionately visible and influential role.

Democracy cannot exist in the absence of the press. This is because democracy is based on popular will and popular opinion depends on the public’s awareness and knowledge. It is the mass media that brings up, promotes and propagates public awareness.

The main responsibility of the press is to provide comprehensive, analytical and factual news and opinion to the people on everyday issues and events of popular concern. To fulfill its duty and responsibility, the press must work according to the fundamental principles of professional ethics, as well as norms and values of journalism.

Democracy can neither be sustainable nor strong without a free press. On the other hand, press freedom will not be possible without democracy. Therefore, the mass media and journalists must be committed to democracy. For this, the press must be perpetually involved in the establishment and promotion of a democratic culture.

The press must remain ever vigilant to protect and enforce people’s freedom of thought and expression and citizens’ right to all information relating to the various aspects of their life and future.

The fact that access to information is a citizen’s right must be taken to heart, and information must be presented in a simple and palatable manner. Right to information is inherent in democratic functioning and a pre-condition for good governance and the realization of all other human rights, including education and health care. The main objectives should be the promotion of transparency and accountability in governance so as to minimize corruption and inefficiency in public office and to ensure the public’s participation in governance and decision making.

Media must be credible and trustworthy. Trust is the most valuable asset for any media. Once lost, it cannot be earned back. It is for this reason that all media must uphold their principles to provide accurate and factual news and other programmes.

Press must understand the difference between politics in general and party politics. Media should not be a vehicle, or used as an advocate for any political party or ideology.

Public and political issues should be clearly understood, analyzed and presented in an impartial manner.

During elections / political campaigns, equal time slots or opportunity must be allocated to each of the legitimate political parties and candidates.

In the course of elections, messages that encourage goodwill and harmony among all the ethnic groups, religions, genders, cultures, languages, regions and communities should be broadcast.

Media plays the role of watch-dog in reporting corruption, complacency and negligence. In a changing, competitive landscape, compliance to good governance has never been taken so seriously, as people demand more transparency from both the government and private sectors. Responsible practices from government, universal principles on human rights and the fight against corruption have assumed great importance.

A flourishing media sector enables people to make informed decisions, becoming more effective participants in society’s development.

In a developing country like Nepal, the relatively low level of literacy, the variations in topography and limited access to electricity all make radio the most suitable medium to satisfy the information needs of the masses.

A robust, independent and pluralistic media environment is crucial for good governance and the overall development of the country. Freedom of expression, free flow of information and fair reporting without government and commercial influences are accelerators of development.

1.2    Statement of Research Problem

This work sets out to determine the role of the newspaper in political development in Nigerian, particularly its patterns of reporting and analyzing political issues, crises and struggle since their pre-independence era. For quite a long time now, as could be observed from the preceding studies, the press has proved to be a potent tool used in shaping, altering, perceptions and causing attitude change.

The press (newspapers) used to lend credence, support, and authenticity to certain political issues, political office holders and parties yet, little or no effort has been made to find out the impact of continuous press participation in the nations politics.

Based on the above, the researcher therefore deem it to expedient and purposeful investigate the role of the newspaper in politics. With a particular reference to the Guardian newspaper.

 1.3    Objectives of the Study

1. To know the role of newspaper in government.

2. To study the challenges facing newspaper in present democratic society.

3. To examine newspaper responsibility in molding public opinions

4. To x- ray the freedom of newspaper in reporting government activities.

5. To highlight the role of the newspaper in mobilizing electorates for election

6. To know how effective is newspaper as watch dog of the people in power.

  1.4 Research Questions

1. To what extent does newspaper educate and sensitize public about government policies and programmes?

2. Does newspaper perform it watchdog role?

3. To what extent does newspaper serves as a mouthpiece of the masses?

4. What are the problems facing newspaper in Nigeria?

5. What are the roles of newspaper in electoral activities in Nigeria?

6. To what extent does newspaper perform the intermediary roles between the government and the governed?

 1.5 Significance of the Study

The study which examines the role of mass media in governance will be of great benefit to the government on what is expected of good government in society. Media practitioners will also gain fro the research findings as it will expose them to what responsibilities media are to play in society. It will also serve as reference materials for future researchers who may want to expand or explore on study relating to this work.

 1.6 Scope of the Study

The scope of the study will be limited to the role of Ondo State Radiovision Corporation in governance, since it is difficult to study all media houses in Nigeria because of the demographical locations, distance, time and other logistics, therefore the result from the finding will be generalization.

1.7 Limitation

1. Stress from other academic assignment is one of the limitations to the research work

2. Financial constraint.

3. Duration for the research work is relatively short

4. Uneasy access to informative materials at Osun State Polytechnic library

 1.8 Definition of the Terms

PRESS: Radio, Television, Periodicals — including newspapers, magazines, book, leaflets, that are used in Nigeria for the dissemination and transmission to widely dispersed audience. Such as the Guardian Newspaper.

POLITICS: The art of science with guiding or influencing government policy, winning and holding control over a government. The struggle for power and dominance, sharing and allocating of the country’s resources such as Nigeria democracy.

NEWSPAPER: This is a sheet of paper unbounded together usually printed daily and distributed which contains stories, articles, advertising and other editorial contents one of such in Nigeria is the Guardian Newspaper.

 

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