PRESS AND DEMOCRACY IN NIGERIA (1999 TILL DATE)
PRESS AND DEMOCRACY IN NIGERIA (1999 TILL DATE)
The press has been referred to as the realm's fourth estate. It has been subjected to a persistent or continuous regime of repression by those in charge of the governmental machinery.
Fortunately, one of the most remarkable phenomena of twentieth-century intellectualism is the enormous interest in the press, expressed without a critical examination of its inherent value to the state and the most important members of society.
As a result, the following is the project's structure: The first chapter is an introduction to the study's purpose, theoretical framework, scope and constraints, basic assumptions, hypothesis, and end notes.
In Chapter 2, there is a literature review on the work's historical context, the growth of the Nigerian press, and end notes.
The third chapter deals with the fundamental issues of press freedom, press freedom, and democracy in Nigeria.
Finally, in Chapter 4, the entire work is summarised, and recommendations are made.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In the current world, the mass media has become so vital that it is difficult to imagine a nation that does not rely on it. The concept of the pres is inextricably intertwined with the concept of modern governance.
Since mankind has proven to be fond of socialising, experience has revealed to him the wisdom that no one or group of individuals should be given the authority to govern the activities of the state without regard for the preferences and will of the other members.
Man has progressed through several evolutionary and experimental stages of governance, including absolute monarchies, capitalism, welfare, and so on.
However, one fundamental idea that has stood the test of time is that the essential safeguard of the community in protection is that government has the obligation to consult, inform, and be responsive to the wishes of the governed.
This aim was fully realised in the little city of Greek, where every member of the state was a part of the policy machinery, because everyone needs to make policies that govern the state's business.
From the foregoing, one can understand the significance of the press in giving meaning to the government's responsibility to consult with and analyse the wishes of the people during the course of governing.
The press has been referred to as the fourth estate of the realm, the watchdog, and the nation's conscience. In the modern state, policy formation, executive and legislative functions are performed by a few members of society on behalf of the majority.
The press has been and continues to be the most effective medium through which rulers hold themselves accountable to the rulers in critical analysis in order to raise the consciousness of the ruled and provide them with the opportunity to remain vigilant about their rights and aware of their obligations.
People look to the press as the watchdog, the conscience of the nation, the defender of liberty, freedom of the masses, and an integral sub-system of the state organisation in the enduring scenario concocted by the historical growth of the modern state.
The most audacious and challenging assignment that fosters executive animosity among all the duties required of the press is that of a watchdog. In this roe, the press will uncover and analyse government actions to see whether the government is abiding by the constitution.
Without such a function, the public cannot assess the system's operation, as well as the wisdom, probity, altruism, patriotism, responsibility, and other attributes that leaders are said to possess.
The function of the press has proven to be quite valuable and has led to a greater understanding of public affairs as persons in government have been forced to explain policies and initiatives when there is a question mark.
The civilian rulers have a direct mandate that makes them beholders into the people, and the imposition of the restriction itself is represented by a conglomeration of political, economic,
and social interests, making it quite uneasy for the executive to push legislative proposals that will significantly harm press freedom. Nonetheless, politicians all over the world continue to seek methods and means to bind the press or clip its wings.
Conflicts between the press and the government are common in Nigeria. There is also the perception that restrictive press restrictions are more prevalent in military regimes than in civilian governance.
The relevance of such a comparison stems from the fact that military intervention in third-world politics has become a fashionable design “being in a state of emergency or wars, thus the press should cooperate with the regime accepted by society by deliberately restraining its freedom of action in two areas of defence and security.”
According to Dr. Patrick Dele Cole, the military and the press are two organisations in our national life that appear to be in irreconcilable conflict in terms of how they understand their mission and how they operate.
An enlightened military administration in Nigeria once stated that due to their training, soldiers were not used to having their commands questioned, let alone disobeyed; as a result,
when soldiers in government discovered their acts being questioned or quarrelled on the pages of newspapers or on radio and television, they were shocked. Their reaction is to have the critic brought to justice.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE problem
The democratic method to solving some problems resulted in major violations of fundamental human rights and ideals of individuals and communities.
The military administration issued other objectionable decrees, such as decree No. 2, which empowers the military to hold an individual for as long as it wants, and edict No. 4, which was intended to limit the press's freedom.
The purpose of Decree No. 16-17 was to legalise the military assault on workers' economic and political rights. These pre-military tribunals were also established to try cases that were civil in character.
Everyone has spoken solemnly about press freedom and the right to free expression, but what exactly do we mean by a free press? Isn't it true that all it takes to enjoy freedom of expression is a few presses?
All that is required to enjoy free the individual freedom to have and exhibit a skill. In terms of the right provided by Article 19, why should the government of a developing country like Nigeria opt to devote precious resources to a costly right?
The purpose of this research study is thus to discover why press freedom is desirable. What exactly is press freedom?
Whether the press was and currently exists in Nigeria, and whether press freedom has aided the democratic process in both the military and civilian regimes.
The research will concentrate on the elements that are least likely to engineer free press, as well as whether such forces exist in Nigerian politics. The primary goal of the research is to look at Nigerian politics.
The study's major goal is to look at the numerous ways in which the Nigerian press has influenced politics in both the democratic and military eras.
1.3 THEORY FRAMEWORK
Two hypotheses were employed to explain the concept of press freedom during the research process. The first theory is authoritarian, which insists on the right of a limited and presumably knowledgeable ruling class to select what society should know and think and thereby fences society with licencing, sedition, blasphemy, and similar regulations dating back to at least the advent of printing.
According to this advocate for ruling elites, the alternative philosophy may be called liberalisation, with origins dating back to the 17th century, but it is a critique and mirror of society.
1.4 BASIC ASSUME
Most Nigerians believe that continuing restrictions on press freedom do not bode well for Nigeria's democratic process. As a result, the national assembly passed a freedom of information bill into law.
The following hypotheses were developed or constructed as the foundation of this investigation.
When press freedom and information distribution are restricted, democracy cannot thrive.
Continuous restrictions on journalistic freedom in Nigeria will stymie democracy's growth.
1.6 DEFINITION OF CONCEPTS
Some topics were identified while conducting this research on press freedom in Nigeria. At certain points, these notions will be clarified.
Press Freedom: The absence of governmental limitations on the media is referred to as press freedom.
Democracy as a notion indicates a system that allows the masses to choose their leaders on a regular basis.
Government: A government is a group of people and organisations that create and enforce laws in a certain state.
Administration simply refers to the management of public affairs, or the control of governmental activities in a state.
Regime: A regime is a system of government/administration that has come to power, such as a military regime.