(A CASE STUDY OF NTA PORT-HARCOURT)
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This study examined the challenges facing the media in dissemination of information. Communication as known everywhere has developed over a number of centuries. The sophisticated and complexity which characterized human communication in the modern world are the result of a very long and sustained effort by human beings to improve on one of the most fundamental aspects of their existence. Over the years, the broadcast media in Nigeria have been at the forefront of engineering change and development. They have remained an energetic instrument for change and reconstruction as well as reformation since no society can function effectively without information. The development media theory is adopted in the study. The type of research design adopted in the case study is the descriptive research. The population of the study is situated at Port Harcourt; Rivers State which is made up of 30 staff of NTA Port-harcourt. The study revealed that inadequate training and corruption of journalists, poor management, poor programme quality and lack of adequate communication facilities are some of the challenges confronting television broadcasting in Nigeria. It concluded that if the television stations will succeed in their bid to engineer national development, professionalism and high ethical standards must be the watchword. It was therefore recommended among others that if the television stations must meet up or eventually get to the level of digitization, government must consider provision of funding and subventions for the media. Also the NBC should be adequately empowered to ensure that television stations adhere to its stipulated code. This would go a long way in eradicating the challenges of commercialization, poor management, cultural imperialism and poor programme quality.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Communication as known everywhere has developed over a number of centuries. The sophisticated and complexity which characterized human communication in the modern world are the result of a very long and sustained effort by human beings to improve on one of the most fundamental aspects of their existence.
Thus, referring to this evolution, the McBride commission has noted that, “As the world has advanced the task of communication has become even more complex, in explaining this complexity, McBride and his colleagues (McBride et al, 1981, P.3), have this to say “ throughout history, human beings sought to improve their ability to receive and assimilate information about their surroundings at the same time to increase the speed, clarity and variety of their methods for transmission of information”- quoted in (Okunna, 1994 Page 1-2).
Therefore, following the above assertion it can be submitted that, the origin of the media and its responsibility to disseminate information, most importantly in Nigeria context dates back to the era of the early press in the year 1800-1929. It was the very first time Newspaper emerged in the country in the name of “Iwe Irohin”.
However, the development of Nigerian press is purely classified into three as follows, from 1800-1920 (Early press), 1927-1960 (National press), 1960-date (Modern or Contemporary press). These were viewed as the chronological order of the evolution of print media.
Thus, in 1940, the Presbyterian Mission established the first printing school in Calabar the reason for this, is to increase the literacy level of the people as of then. And, in 1845, an Anglican Missionary Rev. Henry Townsend, established another printing press as well as printing school at the mission compound in Abeokuta. Five years later (1859), Rev. Townsend moved forward to establish the first newspaper called “Iwe Irohin fun awon era Egba at Yoruba”, Meaning newspaper for the Egba people and Yoruba. Reverend Townsend’s major aim of establishing the newspaper was to increase the reading culture of the Egba and Yoruba people so as to instill literacy desire in them. He also, wanted to embark on Christian stewardship through impacting education and literacy. Iwe Irohin also served as a potent political tool against the British government, thereby informing the mass on the need to know why the British must go.
As the paper was making waves and facing all sorts of criticism, another paper was also established by the Anglo West India, Robert Campbell, he follows Iwe Irohin up with Anglo African with the year 1863. It was printed in Lagos states Campbell’s objective of setting up the newspaper was to exploit the growing interest in Western Education and Enlightenment in Lagos state in 1860 by providing cheap and accessible materials which would educate, inform and entertain its reader. It was the first paper in the country to present another side of the story as it constituted on open competitor with Iwe Irohin.
After that, Richard Beale Blaiz established the Lagos Time and Gold Coast Colony Advertiser in the year 1803-1883. The name of the paper reflected the joint administration of Gold Coast and Lagos at the time. Thus, newspaper establishment journed through the time, Zik established the West African Pilot, up till this day. It is important to note at this juncture that, from the period of the early press and now, there have been an immense function played by the media in order to restore the dilapidating and retrogressing state of Nigerian society.
Interestingly, as the year went by, there was a tremendous dawn in the broadcast media. The radio and television emerged, thereby making waves in the dissemination of information. Radio as a means of communication relies on the use of electro-magnetic waves propagated through space at the speed of light, radio messages were first received in Nigeria through the empire service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in 1932, At this time, Prospective owners of radio had their transmission through their sets which was wired to the post office. In 1936, radio transmission was established with the commencement of transmission through the RDS (i.e. Radio Distribution service) in Lagos. One feature of the program transmitted at this time was low content of Nigeria or coral productions.
By 1948, there were ten “Wire” Wireless stations serving about 80,000 subscribers in the country. This followed until television came to Nigeria for the first time in 1956. When Queen Elizabeth II came to Nigeria same years, the BBC came with a large contingent. The BBC placed TV screens outside the assembly to enable those outside the gallery of the house to watch what was happening. Nigeria takes credit as the pacesetter in Africa in regards to television broadcasting. That notwithstanding, television broadcasting started in Nigeria as a result of intense political and ethnic rivalry. Account has it that, the first television in Nigeria was the Western Nigeria television (WNTV); Ibadan, it is thus readily clear that, the colonial maters did not make much use of television during their period of rule as television came toward the end of colonialism in Nigeria. This was in operation when Chief Obafemi Awolowo established the WNTV. He was said to have has permission for access to the government owned national broadcasting commission (NBC) so that he would reply to the allegation of act of perfidy leveled against him by the actual grievance that eventually gave rise to regional Broadcasting dates back 1953.
From the year 1953-1960, the Eastern Nigeria television (ENTV) was established, then in April 1962 the federal government started the Nigeria television service, channel 10 Lagos, which was headed by T.O.S. Benson. After the civil war in the country there was significance increase in television broadcasting. Almost all the twelve states of the federation (as at 1972) had their own TV station. Then in 1976, the number of stations had risen to nineteen. In 1977, the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) was established to function as an independent body. NTA was given charge over television broadcasting in Nigeria; however, the 1979 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria later remover the exclusive power of the NTA in television broadcasting in Nigeria. The constitution rather allowed for the establishment and operation of broadcasting and stations by different state governments, organization or individual subject to the president’s permission (Okunna 1993, page 55).
At this point, it can be submitted that right from the first day the mass media emerged in Nigeria starting with the print media; the media have been playing the watch dog role in the society, performing a number of functions which benefit the individual as a member of the society. These range from “serious” information and educational functions to “higher” functions like entertainment, information, dissemination, education, advertising, socialization, promotion of culture, motivation, mobilization, integration. They also play the role of agenda setting based on issues that are controversial in nature, here the mass media set the political agenda for the society by deciding what political topics people talk about etc. NTA as one of the media organization has of the mass media to the audience, e.g. election, child abuse, Kidnapping, issue of flooding, crime, war, fire disaster, conflict, fuel subsidy etc; also print media e.g. Newspaper, magazine, Journals, books are not left out.
But suffice it to say that, there are some challenges on the part of the media in using all these channels listed above to send information, thus making the actualization of the noble dream stressful, even NTA a government owned channel has its own shortcomings in the area of playing its roles effectively. Albert, it has been enslaved to the whims and caprices of the political leaders and the government.
Another challenge that weakens the power of Nigeria television Authority (NTA) and other media organization is poor infrastructural facilities. As sobowale (1989: page 304) quoted in Okunna (1994. P. 36) has observed with reference to Nigeria, such basic infrastructural facilities as roads and transport system are in an abysmal state of development; and this limits the work are the media practitioners in gathering information. One can also consider the state of technological expansion and advance in communication technology, with this media have found it difficult to work effectively.
In conclusion, it is submitted with respect that Nigeria television Authority (NTA) has being disseminating information to the masses. But, at the same time has in one way or the other demonstrated the challenges facing its discharge of duties. Despite all odds, this research study will definitely bring changes.
1.1.2 BRIEFS ON THE NTA AND AIT
The Guardian in its editorial of Sunday October 18, 2009 stated that “The federal government-owned television network, the NTA, is arguably the largest of its type in Africa, but it is yet to have the operational freedom required to maximize its potentials” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigerian_Television_A
uthority). The first Director- General of the NTA was Vincent Maduka, an engineer. Prior to his appointment, Maduka was the general manager of Western Nigeria Television, Ibadan, which was Africa’s first television station.
The history of NTA Port Harcourt is the history of NTA in general.NTA has branches in all the states of Nigeria and network centers. NTA Port Harcourt is a branch and network centre of the NTA.
The NTA’s monopoly of the Nigerian air waves was broken with the deregulation of broadcasting. It was not until August 24, 1992, about 50 years after the advent of broadcasting in Nigeria that the government of General Ibrahim Babangida promulgated Decree 38 (amended in 1999) which deregulated broadcast operations in the country. Before then, broadcasting in Nigeria had been the sole monopoly of government.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Given the benefits of broadcasting to society and to the operators, both private corporate bodies and government have been defying the high cost of owning broadcast stations, to float them, since the deregulation of broadcasting in 1992.
Unfortunately, despite government’s good intentions of running public broadcasting affairs, television stations, like radio stations, have been plagued by certain problems. It is these problems or challenges that this study was carried out to investigate, using the Federal Government, NTA as a test case.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main aim of this work is to examine the challenges facing the media in dissemination of information (a case study of NTA Port-Harcourt). Specific objectives include:
- To identify the challenges confronting television broadcasting in Nigeria.
- To determine the effect of these problems on television broadcasting in Nigeria.
- To examine the implication of these challenges for national development.
- To suggest ways of addressing the challenges.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the challenges confronting television broadcasting in Nigeria?
- What are the effects of these problems in television broadcasting in Nigeria?
- What are the implications of these challenges for national development?
- What are the ways of redressing these challenges?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
One of the basic functions of the media is to provide the society with information based on accuracy, facts, truth, and objectivity and to uplift our cultural heritage. The task of the researcher is to find out the challenges facing the media most especially in the developing countries like Nigeria.
This study will serve as a basic for carrying out further research and evaluation of how the challenges in the media can be faced bearing in mind that, what is obtainable in NTA station will also be applicable in other media stations in the country. Therefore, there is hope that the finding posted in the work will be beneficial to other students and researchers attempting to research on a similar project.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY/DELIMITATION
This study tend to examine the challenges facing the media in dissemination of information using NTA Port-Harcourt as a case study.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Challenges: It means the hindrances or constrains which make the media not to execute their duties effectively and efficiently.
Media; In this research study, the media simple means those medium or channel via messages or information are passed across from the source to the heterogeneous audience e.g. Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Enugu state Broadcasting services (ESBS), Federal Radio commission of Nigeria (FRCN) etc. for print media we have newspaper, magazines like the Guardian, Daily Sun, Tell, Punch etc.
Dissemination; In this research, it means a way by which the media carry out their social responsibility in order to tell their audience what is happening within and outside their society.
Information; Programmes of the media which are used to educate, entertain, mobilize, sensitize, inform and socialize the masses concerning everyday activities within and outside the society.
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