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AN EVALUATION OF THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA AND NATIONAL SECURITY IN NIGERIA.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.1 Background to Study
1.2 Statement of problem
1.3 Objective of Study
1.4 Significance of Study
1.5 Research Questions
1.6 Research Methodology
1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study
1.8 Literature Review
1.8 Chapter synopsis
Overview of the Role of the Media
2.1 Functions of the mass media
2.2 The Media, Crime and Violence
The Media and National Security in Nigeria
3.1 Politics of Media Coverage
3.2 Media as threat to National Security
The Media and State Legislations in Nigeria
4.1 Decree No.2 of 1984 and Decree No 4 of
4.2 Abacha's Dictatorship and the State of the Nation
5.1 Summary and Conclusion 5.2 Recommendation
1.1 Background to Study
The mass media comprises the means by which a society disseminates and receives information. The traditional instruments of the mass media to the modern man are the newspapers, magazines, radio and television. The Journalist is a human being, he studies other human creatures, report about human being and human beings are the source of his information. In essence, journalism is a social relation. The information disseminated by the journalist could be harmful or useful depends on its contents. This is where the issue of security comes in. The media transmit messages about a particular society. No one else can play this role. The information is passed across a destination to achieve a goal. The Nigerian press like any other country, is always made to be seen at the Centre of any national crisis, mainly due to its roles in informing and educating the masses. These roles could fit into the social responsibility of the mass media.
Nigeria has since 1984 grapple with the reality of political, economic and social instability. The media has not been an exception the press has since then gone through several institutional manipulations. The institution of the media has been reduced overtime to mere tools in the hands of the governing class to legitimize and perpetuate their illegitimate rule. The illegitimate role has become easy to joist on the media because of the challenges it had to cope with in the discharge of its statutory functions in Nigeria. Challenges such as: poor remunerations, poor condition of service, job insecurity, nepotism, exposure to hazards, inadequate facilities for research and development etc have left the media practitioners and its elites at the mercy of the political class. Hence the ease with which the media has become vulnerable to the dictates of the political class. This is further corroborated by the increasing proliferation of media organizations in Nigeria. This change in the media ownership structure has tended towards the dangerous trend of using the media to promote political, economic and social interest in Nigeria.
In professional terms security could be defined as the prevention of unlawful possession or to protect a person, people or place from attack. It is also the protection of lives and properties from intruders, attack, trespassers or theft. National security may be defined as the means at the disposal of the government for protecting the state from external aggression and internal insurrection. National security can also be defined as the protection of lives, rights, dignity and property of its citizens. It also means the protection of its resources, territory, sovereignty and lawful institutions of the country. The aim of national security is to secure the just and equitable living conditions for all the citizens of the country.
In Nigeria there have been growing threats to national security, particularly in the light on internal and external pressure which has brought to bear on the country in recent times due to politics, fluctuation in global oil price, religious bigotry and the rise of ethnic militia have manifested themselves in the form of increased criminal activity and near break down of law and order. The press can contribute to national security by preserving national consciousness. Wali holds the view that:
The function of the press in any society include surveillance of the environment, correlation of the components of society in responding to the environment and transmission of the social heritage.
State security is principally achieved in two ways: first, administrative method. This is by the application of intelligence and counter-intelligence. Second, by repressive legislation e.g. the Official Secret Act, Seditious Act for the purpose of this study the main concern is the repressive legislation.
The freedom of expression and the press is necessary for a true democracy. It is a very crucial ingredient of democracy considering that fact that the media is the gate keeper for transaction of message about a particular society. No one else can play this role. There are two characteristics of democracy, first is the freedom of the press and second is the recognition of the fundamental human rights. These rights are enshrined in chapter four of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the rights to freedom of expression and the press:
Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinion and to receive and import ideas and information without interference.
The mass media in Nigeria can be a powerful influence in maintaining national security.
A good media or mass media professional must have a genuine interest in people. The primary focus is on issues that benefits the general public and uphold fairness, justice, national unity and international cooperation. It is in the light of this that this study discusses national security and the role of the press in Nigeria The police who are primarily concerned with the maintenance of law and order on behalf of the public are inevitably placed in a position where close cooperation with the media is imperative in combating crime and ensuring national security.
The media is capable of mobilizing people to achieve the desired objective of state security. People are mobilized through ideological exposure and political education into the socio-cultural factors which govern their behaviour to produce in them a sense of pride in themselves and patriotism for the collective as well as a belief that they are capable of mastering their own destiny by controlling nature and organizing themselves.
The media could serve as a threat to security by way of espionage, by which a nation, organization or individuals employ to procure information concerning the interests of another country to which they are not, by law, entitled. The information sought pertains to the secret affairs of the target country in strategic areas including military, industries, politics, technology etc. for hostile purpose. Other forms of threat to security include propaganda, terrorism, subversion, sabotage, insurgency, guerilla warfare."
Statement of Problem
One of the most serious social problems facing Nigeria today is the dangerous increase in the incidence of violent crimes. Crime reflects the character of a people. It is in the light of this that this study discusses the role of the media in national security in Nigeria. In this study therefore all reference to the media will emphasize the principal functions of the media as a watch-dog capable of blowing the whistle to call attention to serious national issues. The power of the media to decide what the people should read, see or hear has never been in doubt. What has been in doubt is the capacity of those in whose hands reside such enormous powers to use that power judiciously and in public interest.
The media is the gate keeper for transmission of message about a particular society. No one else can play this role or is authorized to play this role. The greatest challenge to the mass media in Nigeria today is how to make itself relevant to the Nigerian society. It is very crucial for the media to make itself very relevant particularly in a developing country like Nigeria where democracy is on trial and national institutions are taking shape, the media must tread wearily and exercise great discretion if it is to preserve its freedom and contribute its quota to the building of national unity. In the light of this, this study will evaluate the role of the media in national security in Nigeria from 1984 when Decree No. 2 which threatened press freedom was promulgated by General Muhamm adu Buhari, to 2007, when the debate on the Freedom of Information Bill (FOB) was on.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this study are:
1. Study the media and national security in Nigeria from 1984 to 2007
2. Provide useful information on the media and national security in Nigeria
3. Examine the relationship between the media and state security
4. Assess the impact of the media on national security in
1.4 Significance of the Study
In spite of the growing expenditure on security by the Nigerian government, the fear of insecurity among some Nigerians is increasing. This is a challenge not only to the government but to the media and the society at large. This is the justification for this study. The freedom of expression and the press is necessary for a true democracy. It is a very crucial ingredient of a true democracy. There are two characteristics of democracy: first is the freedom of the press and second is the recognition of the fundamental human rights. These rights are contained in chapter four of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
1.5 Research Questions
The following questions would be a guide in this study:
1. What was the relationship between the media and national security in Nigeria between the period 1984 and 2007?
2. What impact did the media have on state security in the period of study?
3. How did state security operation affect media functions?
4. How did media activities affect state security?
1.6 Research Methodology
The study adopts historical method in examining the role of the media in national security in Nigeria from the period 1984 to 2007. The study would rely on extensive use of secondary sources by way of text books, journal articles, newspaper publications and books on the subject matter.
1.7 Scope and Limitation of the Study
The study attempts to evaluate the role of the mass media in Nigeria's national security this study because it was the year in which Nigerians and indeed the mass media were subjected to the draconian media legislations. 2007 is chosen as the terminal date for this study because it was in the year the country started witnessing agitation by mass media operatives for greater freedom by asking the government for a Freedom of Information Bill (FOB). The study would examine the relationship between the mass media and state security operatives in the period of study. The study would assess the impact of the function of the media on national security.
1.8 Literature Review
The book by Wali Press Freedom and National Security gives a comprehensive analysis of what security entails and a good detail on press freedom. The book was found very useful as far as issues of state security and freedom of the press is concerned. The book did not however discuss current problems face by media practitioners.
Akinfeleye's book Contemporary Issues in Mass Media for Development and National Security. Touché on various subjects affecting the media. The book is a Compilation of articles published in chapters by stakeholders in the media industry. Various chapters of the book were found useful to this study.
Bako'sl1Nigerian Human Rights Report is a synthesis of the four years of tyrannical and incompetent rule of Nigeria's brutal dictator, General Sanni Abacha. The publication documents the severe human rights abuses under the Abacha regime and reports on improvements since the rule of General Abdulsalami Abubakar. This study agrees with Bako's view that "The Nigerian crisis; though not now as desperate, remains unresolved.
The Annual Report on the Human Right Situation in Nigeria published by the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR) is a documentary of the terrific horror meted on Nigerians and the absolute human right violations by the General Sanni Abacha junta in the year 1998. The publication also reports on several other rights violations, which, though not the direct responsibilities of that junta, but were mostly bred by the socio-economic chaos and political anarchy created by it and its predecessors.
Ogunye et al's Nigerian Students and the Challenges of Leadership contains papers and discussions of students leadership training workshop held at Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife. The book touched on very sensitive issues such the challenges of political leadership in contemporary Nigeria, cultism and issue of youth violence.
1.9 Chapter Synopsis
Chapter one: This chapter is a window to this project. It would discuss the background to study, statement of problem, objective of study, and significance of study. The chapter would raise some research questions, discuss the research methodology, scope and limitation of study and review the relevant literatures that were used.
Chapter Two: will discuss the general or basic functions of the media and the role the media ought to play in a democracy and in particular in a nascent democracy like that of Nigeria. The chapter would also examine the relationship between the media, crime and violence.
Chapter Three: discusses politics of media coverage of events in Nigeria. It raises the question on media and corruption. The chapter shows some of the national security problems created by the media.
Chapter Four: would examine the obnoxious Decrees 2 and 4 promulgated during the military regime, the implications of these decrees on the Nigerian press. Abacha regime and the state of the nation during the period.
Chapter Five: Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations. The chapter draws conclusion to the study and makes recommendation that would be useful to future policy makers.
1. A. Udoudo & M. Asak. 'The Nigerian Press and National Crisis'.Gombe, Paper Presented at the 53rd Annual Congress of the Historical Society of Nigeria (HSN), Gombe State University, Gombe, 13th_15th October, 2008, Abstract Page.
2. M. Ofuafor. 'The Media, Corruption and National Security in Nigeria since Independence'. Grobe, Paper Presented at the 53rd Annual Congress of the Historical Society of Nigeria (HSN), Gombe State University, 13th - 15th October, 2008, 1.
3. A.D. Ali. 'Security Threats in Nigeria: The Challenges of our Time 1960-2008.' Paper presented at the 53rd Annual Cogress of the Historical Society of Nigeria, Gombe State University, Gombe, and 13th_15th October, 2008, 2. Theme: Historicizing National Security, Order and Rule of Law in Nigeria.
4. A.M. Jang. 'Security Consciousness in Support of National Security: The Nigerian Situation.' Paper presented at the 53rd Annual Cogress of the Historical Society of Nigeria, Gombe State University, Gombe, and 13th_15th October, 2008, 2. Theme: Historicizing National Security, Order and Rule of Law in Nigeria.
5. A.Wali. Press Freedom and National Security: A Study in the Dynamics of Journalists and Security Agents Relationship in Nigeria. Open Press Ltd, Zaria, 2003, 17.
6 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 Chapter 4 Section 39, Lagos, Times Press Limited,1999,
7 M. Gambo. 'The Role of Mass Media in Combating Crime in Nigeria' in R. Akinfeleye. Contemporary Issues in Mass Media for Development and National Security. Lagos, Malt house Press Ltd, 2006, 31.
8. A. Wali. Op cit, 78-91.
10. R. Akinfeleye. Contemporary Issues in Mass Media for Development and National Security. Lagos, Malt house Press Ltd, 2006.
11. S. Bako. Nigeria Human Rights Report 1998. Lagos, Constitutional Rights Project (CRP).
12. Annual Report on the Human Rights Situation in Nigeria. Lagos, Committee for the Defense of Human Fights (CDHR), 1998.
13. 1. Ogunye. Nigerian Students and the Challenges of Leadership. Lagos, Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR), 1998.