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  • CONSTRAINTS ON JOURNALISTIC PRACTICE IN GOVERNMENT-OWNED MEDIA ORGANISATIONS IN SOUTH-SOUTH GEO-POLITICAL ZONE OF NIGERIA

    » ABSTRACT In Nigeria, a significant number of intellectuals, journalists, and businesspeople believe that government should not interfere with ownership and control of the mass media. The important point implicit in this viewpoint is the assumption that the pattern of ownership of the mass media is crucial in determining the strength or weakness of the press. This study surveys the constraints on journalistic practice in government- owned media in the south- south geo-political zone of Nigeria. "Government-owned media," as used in this study, refers to newspapers in the six states that make up the geo-political zone which could be used to generalize to other government owned newspapers in Nigeria owning to the fact that they operate in the same economy. Discussion of background issues covers constitutional and legal provisions and government ownership of media. Strictly speaking, there are two main categories of the press in Nigeria: the government-owned press and the privately owned press. The establishment of daily newspapers by newly created states accounted for the relatively spectacular increase in government ownership since 1960. The decision to compete with private entrepreneurs is not a sound one, notwithstanding the argument for government ownership in Nigeria at this time. The lesson of history is that such ownership is incompatible with a democratic way of life in a society having a free enterprise economy. Also such ownership rarely if ever lasts unless the government intends to use methods which seriously detract from democratic principles to sustain its media outlets regardless of their performance and level of success or failure. It would be in the interest of the Nigerian press, governments, public and national development, for the governments to leave the field of daily and weekly newspaper publishing to private enterprise and concentrate their efforts in radio and television broadcasting....Continue Reading »

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