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The assertion that says “he who pays the pipers dictates the tunes”, agreed more with this study because there are lots of government controls and influences on Nigerian journalists especially those working with the state media. Government dictates to journalists what they should and should not broadcast. It is believe the most of the government media journalists have been turned to their secretary and public relations while government has also turned media to her extension of ministry of information that cannot but support her activities dogmatically. Survey method was adopted with the use of 100 questionnaires out of which 90 were returned upon which the analysis was based.





Government attempt to not only control but subjugate the press through obnoxious laws has been an enduring problem, the press has been striving to wriggle itself out of this unfavorable laws, but the government believe that given the press the freedom to operate, has an independent entity may be subsidy. Usually, government feels that it’s logical to restrain the power of the press and, if possible, have a total control of the press. To government, the press is an instrument of people in power and should lead itself to their dictate. But the press fights fiercely to resist this summative stance government want to subject it.

Control of the mass 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 government, the political climates prevailing, the caliber of journalists and other professional communicators.  It may also be dependent on the economic situation of the mass media and their stated objectives and policies. There is also the legal control which sometimes goes beyond the ethical to include the right for an organization to be sued, if it broadcasts without permission or transmit false information etc. (Onabanjo 2001).      Government truculent reaction to the freedom of the press to record the affairs of the government to the public shows that the government always has a skeleton in it cupboard and ,therefore, would never entertain the prolonged glimpse of the press. The aim of the government to the lord it over the press is not peculiar to Nigeria not to the third world countries alone. According to Ekweli (1986:568),”throughout the centuries, and in every county, the media has been subjected to both harassment and manipulation”. From the colonial era to Nigerians independent and to military as civilian regime, the press has struggled to exist amidst diverse suppressive laws ordinance, acts and decrees enacted and promulgated at one time or another by different government. Today, the Nigeria press exists in a very tenuous position. In the world of Exe (1993:21),”the jeremiad of complaint by the press has fallen on deaf ears of government who’s alert and watchful eyes are permanently directed on what the press published with eager hands to send some medial operations.


The concept “effect of government ownership and control of mass media and their objectivity is of great importance. Government did not own and exert control over the media for its sake but a definite purpose of using it as a megaphone to its own story, the way they want it to tell its audience. Most state owned media organization are land locked with credibility and objectivity questions for the way they have handled information/propaganda dissemination for the government at the expense of the opposition and indeed the people.

The problem that necessitated this research the need to uncover how government influences on its own “Megaphone has been able to foster or deride the objective principle of journalism and how it will affect the media as whole.


  • The purpose of this study is to find out how objectively the media discharges its duty in the light of government ownership and control.
  • To identify ways by which their objectivity has affected the station status
  • To offer suggestions on how government owned media should be handled to achieve better result.

Finally the research is undertaken to make contributions to knowledge generally.


Certain questions were formulated with hope that if answered, it will proffer solution to the problem; they are as follows

  • Does the influence of government help in the progress of the media?
  • Do media programs reflect its bias to government or media objectivity?
  • Does the ownership and control give room to media practitioners to operate optimally?


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 were harassed, intimidated, detained, brutalized and victimized not only under military dictates but also democratic rulers with the assertion that, “he who pays the paper dictates the tunes”. 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 politics.

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 consistency 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 scope of this project is on how government ownership controls the mass media and their objectivities in Nigeria.

However, this cannot be effectively examined without considering the demographic factor of the staffs and sample number of media house under study who will in turn respond to the questionnaires of this study. Experience, educational background, professional training, age, sex etc, must also be considered before the distribution of research instrument.

The research has been narrowed down to Radio Rivers  because it is difficult to study all broadcast media in Nigeria due to the vest nature of the country, lack of enough time for this study, limited resources and other reasonable logistics worthy to note. Therefore the project will center on Radio Rivers


Wide research of this nature cannot be carried out without some constrains, this constrains pose a lot of limitations to this work. The challenges stated below posed some limitations to the researcher ability to study all mass media owned by the government.

 Time: Duration for the research work is relatively short while stress emanated from other academic activities is also another constrain.

 Material: Little materials are also available because the work is relatively new.

 Financial: Financial constrain poses another challenges as most of information are gathered through books and surf the internet to get the latest information for this study which consume lots of money.


 Broadcast media: They are very potent mass media which combine audio, visual and motion in translation of news and programs such as AIT.

 Government: Is a body with the power to direct or control the public affairs of a country. It refers to institution or agent of a state responsible for ruling the country.

 Control: The power to direct and influence the decision on what mass media are to broadcast and which should not be broadcast.

 Propaganda: This is a deliberate and planned attempt made by an individual or government to pass information that contains the element of the media


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