AUDIENCE ASSESSMENT OF MEDIA OWNERSHIP ON REPORTAGE OF ENDSARS PROTEST

ABSTRACT: The research investigated audience assessment of media ownership on reportage of Endsars protest (A survey of Arise TV, Channels, and Television Continental). The study was anchored on Gatekeeping Theory. A survey research method was adopted alongside 360 questionnaires that were administered to students of Adeleke University.  Taro Yamane formula was used to determine the sample size. The data collected were analyzed using the frequency and percentage method. Media ownership does not really affect media reportage of Endsars protest. It is also agreed that ownership did not influenced the trio of Arise TV, Channels TV and Television Continental However, TVC, Channels TV, Arise TV and AIT were the most television stations that people used to watch ENDSARS protest. It is equally established that to a large extent, Arise TV, Channels TV and TVC are free in reporting ENDSARS Protest as majority of respondents (48.5%) disagree that media ownership affects the objectivity and credibility of ENDSARS protest reportage. Hence, it can be concluded that the majority of respondents (46.4%) rated the reportage of ENDSAR protest in Arise TV, Channels TV and TVC as good while Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter were the most used social media used by audience for ENDSARS Protest mobilization. It is also noted that ENDSARS has impacted on small and medium enterprise. It is also evident that the goal of ENDSARS protest was to end police brutality, improve security and good governance. The study recommended that journalists and other media personnel should be given free hand to operate to increase media integrity, trust and credibility on issues. Media houses and media associations should as well educate, organize workshops and seminars for their staff on how best to report protests in order to have the best knowledge and ethics for reporting protests. 

ENDSARS Protest


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background of the study

The assertion of “he who pays the pipers dictates the tunes” agreed more with the concept of media ownership because there are lots of control and influence on broadcast media operation in general. Media owners tend to dictate to their media/journalists what they should and should not broadcast. It is believed that most of the government media journalists have been turned to politician’s secretary and public relations while government has also turned media to her extension of ministry of information that cannot but support her activities dogmatically. Equally, many private broadcast media are not only after stories the will sell their media outfits but also interested in activities that will bring more revenue to their station, the influence of media owners is also enormous as the owner set goals for which their media runs.  This was also observed during the Endsars protest.

However, police brutality or excessive use of force by any law enforcement agency can be legally defined as a civil rights violation, it  also the use of torture as interrogative technique and other want on abuses of human rights remain some of the major flaws of the Nigeria Police Force which has attracted public odium, opprobrium, and  condemnation to  the Force, adding that is one of  the most  extreme forms  of violence,  resulting  to  both  psychological and  physical  consequences  is  sometimes  considered  as  an  indispensable interrogation mechanism for gathering strategic intelligence (Soladoye & Ojo, 2021).

Worried by the incessant reports of human rights abuse of the members of the Police Force, the Former Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, once warned the Special Anti-Robbery Squad operatives  against torture and extrajudicial  killings,  saying  “no  policeman  in the  world had  the right or authority to  kill  crime  suspects” .

He admonished the SARS personnel to always respect the right of every Nigerian, noting that this was the way they could change the negative public perception about them. Protests against police brutality previously have arisen in Nigeria, as advocates and researchers have documented extensive evidence of human rights abuses by SARS officers and other NPF personnel.

For any country to quell mostly internal insurrection, aggression, and combat crime as well as maintain peace and protect lives and properties of the citizens, there is need for the establishment of the security department whose personnel execute their functions not arbitrarily to the laws of the country but with severe adherence to rules and constitutional provisions of the country. This need in Nigeria led to the establishment of SARS.

The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was founded in late 1992 by former police commissioner Simeon Danladi Midenda when Col. Rindam of the Nigerian Army was killed by police officers at a checkpoint in Lagos in September 1992, later leading to the arrest of three officers. When the information reached the army, soldiers were dispatched into the streets of Lagos in search of any police officer. The Nigerian police withdrew from checkpoints, security areas, and other points of interest for criminals; some police officers were said to have resigned while others fled for their lives.

Due to the absence of police for two weeks, the crime rate increased and SARS was formed with only 15 officers operating in the shadows without knowledge of the army while monitoring police radio chatters. Due to the existence of three already established anti-robbery squads that were operational at that time, Midenda needed to distinguish his squad from the already existing teams. Midenda named his team Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). After months of dialogue the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force came to an understanding and official police duties began again in Lagos.

The SARS unit was officially commissioned in Lagos following a ceasefire by the army after settlement and was one of the 14 units in the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, which was established to detain, investigate, and prosecute people involved in crimes like armed robbery, kidnapping, and other violent crimes.

With the way SARS performs its activities made people to easily criticize, condemned it and call for total abolition of the unit through out the country because people believe that SARS is doing more harm than good. The brutality and excessive use of force by painted as illegal civil rights violation, their miscount including the use of torture as interrogative technique and other abuses of human rights remain some of the major flaws of SARS which attracted public odium, opprobrium, and  condemnation to  the Force (Aborisade & Fayemi, 2015).

However, many Nigerians believe that media ownership go a long way to influence what their media will cover and how to cover it because they lots of control over it content. It is against this background that the study investigated audience assessment of media ownership on reportage of Endsars protest with a focus on Arise TV, Channels, and Television Continental).

1.2       Statement of problem

Broadcasting is a content driven business and it is believed that the various contents pushed out by the media is what keeps broadcast stations alive. It is usually expected that the contents from a television station must resonates with the people by reflecting truth and objectivity. However the issue of ownership has been a subject of discuss among various media scholars who seem to have varying opinions about the influence it has on performance. The Endsars movement which generated a lot of controversy in the nation was believed to have been reported in various forms by different media houses. While some were objective in their reportage some were believed to be subjective and bias which attracted various sanctions. It is as a result of this that the researcher intends to find out the influence of media ownership on reportage of END SARS protest: a survey of Arise TV, Channels TV and TVContinental.

1.3       Objectives of the study

  1. To find out the influence of media ownership on reportage of End Sars protests
  2. To analyse the extent to which ownership influenced the reportage of End SARS protest

1.4       Research Questions

  1. To what extent does media ownership influence reportage of End Sars protest?
  2. To what extent did the media ownership influence the reportage of End SARS protest?

1.5       Significance of the study

This study will help government and policymakers align and realign laws and policies to fit into the demand of the populace to create an environment that will promote and protect the rights of the citizens, rule of law, protection of lives and properties as stated as the major function of the security personnel and restrict the abuse of power of security personnel in the country.

Scholars have written on the role of mass media on public opinion, yet only few ever written on how social media influence opinion formation such as how social media was used to mobilized youth for protest.

Corporate bodies such as Nigerian Union of Journalists, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, CDHR and youth groups and students will through the research know how best to utilize social  media for public opinion and agenda setting.

Similarly, the findings of this study will serve as an additional literature on the topic for students and researchers who will like to carry out similar research while, the material will form bulk literature that exist in the field of mass communication, journalism, development journalism and media studies, etc

1.6       Scope of the study

The study which investigated audience assessment of media ownership on reportage of Endsars protest was narrowed in scope to Arise TV, Channels TV and TV Continental. Thus, the geographical scope of this study was within Lagos state. The choice of Arise TV, Channels TV and TV Continental was not only due to the proximity to the researcher, inadequate time to study all television stations in Lagos.

Also, the demographic factors of the respondents was carefully study before the administration of research instruments such factors include: age, gender, academic level e.t.c.

1.7       Operational Definition of Terms

Media Ownership: This can be defined as the act, state or right of possessing and being in control of a particular media outfit. It entails the legal right to claim access to a particular property.

Endsars Protest: This is a decentralized social movement and series of mass protests against police brutality in Nigeria.

Reportage: This means the reporting of news by the broadcast media and how the news is reported.

Reformation: making changes to something with the intention of setting it back on the right path.

SARS: The Special Anti-Robbery Squad was a Nigerian Police Force unit created to deal with crimes associated with robbery, motor vehicle theft, kidnapping, cattle rustling, and firearms.

Protest: a statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to something.

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