ABSTRACT: The study investigated broadcast media and news credibility in Osun state particularly in the eyes of the audience. The study was anchored on Source Credibility and Uses and Gratifications Theories. The research used survey research method coupled with 150 copies of questionnaires that were administered to audience of broadcast stations in Osogbo who were selected using non-probability sampling technique (accidental)to pick respondents particularly in some strategic locations in Osogbo such as Oke-Fia/Alekuwodo, Olaiya/Asubiaro, Ogo Oluwa, Ita-Olokan/Isale-Osun and Station Road/Oja-Oba while 135 copies were returned and analysed using frequency and percentage method. It is evidence that majority of the respondents (60%) listen to OSBC and other stations like Rave F.M and spent at least 2 hours daily. Findings also show that the credibility level of OSBC radio is low. The study recommends that radio stations should be fairness in reporting activities regards government and other issues to earn public trust and confidence while journalists and media should see themselves as responsible citizens and organisation by promoting programmes that will drive audience positively.
Keywords: News Credibility
1.1 Background to the study
The concept of credibility is derived from the word “Credible” which means truth, fact, real, authentic, genuine, reliable, testable and something that can be trusted. Therefore, the media credibility has to do with the objective and subjective components of the believability of media contents from the source. Mass media credibility emphasizes on trustworthiness of a media station by the audience and the level of expertise or technical know-how that they bring into their activities.
News and information credibility of a media goes a long way in attracting large audience or followers, as the more the credibility of their messages the more audience loyalty they get. Also, advertisers will continue to patronize such media stations because of the large audience it commands. The information credibility level of the media also indicates giving the people (audience) genuine, factual and authenticated information devoid of sentiment or bias. The media that is perceived credible will definitely get more audience and the more the audience the more they get advertisers.
According to Kaufman (1999), credibility of the news media’s messages is very important to the audience. The audience sees them as a source of getting the most reliable information as such media will have a good image and outlook in the eye of the public. Media stations should be built on credibility, their contents and every of their activities should reflect objectivity and non-partisanship.
However, when a radio or television presents itself as credible, then it wins the heart of the audience and the audience tends to believe the stations messages (news, programmes and advertisement. Once, the advertisers are aware of this, they will want to advertise on the channel, so if they do, it will profit the media outfit and make them able to survive financially among other thing.
The credibility of the media give it ample edge to compete with other rival station. Public also welcome a credible media and give them warm treatment. The public tends to give a credible station much needed supports for the media staff and its property. Although, Independent press cannot exist and that the news organs are agents of the people who exercise political and economic control. No matter the benevolence of the government, no matter the democratic principles of the society and no matter the advancement of any society, the mass media are usually subjected to some forms of control from those who hold and operate the apparatus of power and those that owns them.
Altschull (2008) cited in Andrew, (2009), the credibility of the media determines its objectivity, fairness and overall credibility Ownership is a critical factor for the content of any medium, this implies that there is a connection between ownership, the content and nature of a medium. The nature of ownership itself is determined by the character of the owner, his interests and the vision he has for the medium. Character here indicates whether ownership is private or government, private-oriented (profit) or government-oriented (non-profit). Interest refers to the economic (business) concerns and political persuasion of the owner. And vision means the idea of the owner about what a medium should be or do and his understanding of the practices and goals of journalism.
Control of the electronic media is both internal and external, since there is nucleus of interdependence and co-existence. There is a common saying with regards to mass media control in Nigeria and elsewhere, which has become a cliché, that “He who pays the piper dictates the tune”. This means that the owners of a mass media channel controls what the medium broadcasts and how it broadcasts it. Surely, control through ownership is a fact of life in every society, but then the nature of this control usually varies greatly, depending upon the public system, the orientation of political leaders in control of state government, the political climates prevailing, the caliber of journalists and other professional communicators.
The aim of the state government to lord over the press is not peculiar to Nigeria alone, but to all the third world countries. According to Ekweli (1986:568),”throughout the centuries, and in every country, the media has been subjected to both harassment and manipulation”. From the colonial era to Nigeria’s independent and also from military to the civilian regime, the press has struggled to exist amidst diverse suppressive laws, ordinances, acts and decrees enacted and promulgated at one time or another by different government. Hence, the study investigated broadcast media and news credibility in Osun state particularly in the eyes of the audience with a focus on OSBC.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The main problem of this study is to assess the credibility level of operating broadcast media in Osun state. The problem of transmitting over a shortage and sensing densely populated areas with effective broadcasting equipment e.g transmitter, antennas, generators etc.
Osun state broadcast media has suffered credibility and decline in recent years as a local news stations mainly because of the reflection of state government influence and as a result, lots of people prefer listening and watching other alternative channels since the regards OSBC as tool for government propaganda. Hence, the study investigated broadcast media and news credibility in Osun state particularly in the eyes of the audience particularly OSBC.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
1. To establish the level of authenticity and credibility of broadcasting media operating in Osun state.
2. To examine the extent at which media ownership affects credibility of information broadcast by stations in Osun state
1.4 Research Questions
1. What is the authenticity and credibility rating of broadcasting media operating in Osun state?
2. To what extent do media ownership affects credibility of information broadcast by the stations in Osun state?
1.5 Significance of the Study
Based on the terrain in which media practitioners operate under control of government, this highly instructive work is aimed to enlighten mass media students and generality of the citizen to gain secondary knowledge of how journalists are to operate.
The study will help to provide adequate insight to meet the changing demands in the dynamic media environment of our society hereby helping media managers to make better management polices.
The study will assist the media practitioners to know its role in enhancing the success or failure of media industries.
Other beneficial of the study are media owners who will know how their action and reaction is crippling the success and public credibility of their media outfit.
Future researchers will find this work very interesting to use as a reference material for their new work and see what previous researchers have done.
Government agencies that are saddled with the responsibility to ensure fairness and media unbias will also see the need to come up will new laws that will reduce ownership influence especially in this democratic era so that the public will come to trust such medium.
The study will expose the level of state government involvement in the management, and staff recruitment in the stations.
The study will expose the level of sycophantic practise in the state broadcast media.
The result of the study will serve as reference materials for further studies in management, government and mass communication
1.6 Scope of the study
This research which investigated broadcast media and news credibility in Osun state particularly in the eyes of the audience has been narrowed in scope to Osun State Broadcasting Corporation (OSBC). Thus, the geographical location of this study is Osun State. However, the choice of OSBC was due to its proximity to the researcher.
1.7 Operational Definition of the Terms
Assessment: This refers to the critical examination of the level of OSBC credibility in the eyes of the audience
Credibility: This refers to the objectivity and trust earn by operating broadcasting stations in Osun State particular OSBC
Media Station in Osun State: An organization saddled with the task of disseminating news and information to the people through the means of television, radio and newspapers.