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«MEDIA AND SECURITY IN NIGERIA DR. ABDUR-RAHMAN OLALEKAN OLAYIWOLA Dip Cert.; (Arabic and Islamic Studies passed with Distinction). B.Sc. (Hons.), ...»

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European Journal of Business and Social Sciences, Vol. 2, No.9, pp 1-19, December 2013. P.P. 20 - 38

URL: http://www.ejbss.com/recent.aspx

ISSN: 2235 -767X



Dip Cert.; (Arabic and Islamic Studies passed with Distinction).

B.Sc. (Hons.), Second Class Honours Upper Division.

M.Sc.; M.C.A.; M.Phil.; (Ibadan).

P.G. Dip. (Legal Studies)/C.P.E. (Law); (UNL, London, United Kingdom);

P.G. Dip (Legal Practice); (APU, Chelmsford Essex, United Kingdom); P.S.C. (Altior, Cardiff, Wales).

Ph.D. (London); London School of Economics and Political Science (L.S.E) University of London.

Foundation and Current Head of Department, Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, Lagos, Nigeria.

Councilor and Chair of Under 8’s Committees on Education, Leisure and Social Services and Chair of Licensing; Chairman, Borough and Bankside Community Council;

London Borough of Southwark, United Kingdom.

Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) for the British Parliament/House of Commons.

Former Exco Member, Nigerian Political Science Association and International Political Science Association Research Committee on Global Political Communication.

Former Senior Editor, Analyst and Researcher, Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (B.C.O.S), Ibadan, Nigeria.

Lawyer/Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales and Commissioner for Oaths.

Telephone: (Nigeria) +234-(0)7084654108, +234-(0)8022237937 (Britain) +44(0)7930157099; +44(0) 7466794246 E-mail: nusramurana@yahoo.co.uk


European Journal of Business and Social Sciences, Vol. 2, No.9, pp 1-19, December 2013. P.P. 20 - 38 URL: http://www.ejbss.com/recent.aspx ISSN: 2235 -767X

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European Journal of Business and Social Sciences, Vol. 2, No.9, pp 1-19, December 2013. P.P. 20 - 38 URL: http://www.ejbss.com/recent.aspx ISSN: 2235 -767X Introduction Section 22 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), Chapter II on Fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy explains the obligation of the mass media


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This paper on media and security in Nigeria examines the extent to which the mass media have been able or unable to carry out these constitutional obligation and requirements especially in relation to media and security. Are the mass media free as entrenched in the Constitution? Have they been able to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in the Chapter of the Constitution under reference?

The fundamental objectives are:

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Have the mass media been able to uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people? What are the ethics of the mass media practitioners? What are the problems and challenges faced by the mass media and Journalists? Are there peculiar issues on media and security? What about the media, security and international environment? Are there non-statutory security institutions and aspects of regionalization and globalization of insecurity that the mass media have to address? This paper attempts some answers.

The role of the mass media

Our world’s age is so mass media-oriented that we learn almost everything we know today through some media of mass communication –radio, television, newspapers, social media, magazines, community media, traditional media, books, films and so on and so forth, among a host of other media of communication. Not only are the mass media the chief sources of most people’s views of the world, but they are also the fastest ways known to transmit information throughout an entire society. In point fact, the role of the mass media assumes greater importance in both developing and ‘developed’ countries of the world. It does not matter whether the mass media are used for security coverage and reportage, agenda – setting of election


European Journal of Business and Social Sciences, Vol. 2, No.9, pp 1-19, December 2013. P.P. 20 - 38 URL: http://www.ejbss.com/recent.aspx ISSN: 2235 -767X campaigns, political communication, environmental communication, group communication, agricultural communication, legal communication, religious communication, among others. (Olayiwola, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 2011, 2012, 2013).

In a democratic society, the mass media are expected to play the following roles:

i. To convey information to the people with a view to letting them know how the mandate they gave their representatives is being discharged;

ii. To provide a forum through which the governed could react to government policies and activities;

iii. To assist in the articulation and pursuit of national interest;

iv. To monitor the performance of government with a view to preventing their deviation from clearly stated objectives;

v. To assist in setting an agenda of priorities in the social, cultural, political and economic development of the nation;

vi. To function as an agent of modernization; and vii. To provide informed criticisms on viable alternatives, among a host of others.

The mass media are saddled with the responsibility of informing, educating and entertaining the public. In fact, the government and the governed seem to recognize this role when they refer to the media as the Fourth Estate of the Realm. The mass media aid in the overall socio-politico–economic development of the society, the mobilization of resources for economic progress, and the enlightenment of the citizenry about issues and happenings outside their immediate environment. Apart from being disseminators of news by means of printed words, illustrations, cartoons, caricatures or other visual symbolizations, mass media are the most potent tools by means of which the masses of the people ventilate their feelings and views on any issue of the day. And by this, the mass media are inseparably identified with the masses.

The Working Group on Black civilization and Mass Media at the FESTAC Colloquium buttressed more vividly the powers of the mass media when it rightly remarked.

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The mass media exert important influence on political communication particularly because they regularly and rapidly present politically crucial information to huge audiences. The mass media are also important in “setting the agenda” for mass participation in development.

As Lang and Lang once observed:

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In Britain for instance, politicians typically ascribe to the mass media an important role in political communication. The most distinctive point about the message or content of mass media as opposed to other media, is perhaps their reliance on the sense of hearing and, above all, sight. They are predominantly verbal media and are therefore, well suited to politics, which is a verbal activity.

The mass media are also important in “setting the agenda, the stage for ongoing political development, in shaping the views and behaviours of political elites, the masses and other selected groups, and in influencing the perception of the general public. As Theodore White has rightly remarked with great fervor and citing

America as an example:

“The power of the press in America is a primordial one. It sets the agenda of public discussion; and this sweeping political power is unrestrained by any law. It determines what people will talk and think about, an authority that in other nations is reserved for tyrants, priests, parties and mandarins. No major act of the American Congress, no foreign adventure, no act of diplomacy, no great social reform can succeed in the U.S unless the press prepares the public mind” (White, T.1973).

It is generally and universally accepted that the mass media are very crucial to informative and educative enterprise. The mass media help to discover the truth however splintered that truth may be in a plurality of voices while at the same time they raise conflict to the plane of discussion. Mass media can also be involved in a conspiracy of silence. The use of mass media by such political leaders as Mussolini and Hitler in Europe to stir public sentiments in support of fascism caused many social scientists to worry about the impact of “manipulative media” on a “susceptible citizenry” in the 1930s and 1940s. (Becker, L. 1975). Christenson, (1959), wrote that the mass media are most effective in shaping lightly held opinions. We do know that broadcasting which is an aspect of the mass media of communication is, “the most pervasive and therefore, one of the most powerful agents for influencing men’s thoughts and actions, for giving them a picture, true or false, of their fellows, and of the world in which they live, for appealing to their intellect, their emotions and their appetites, for filling their minds with beauty or ugliness, ideas or idleness, laughter, or terror, love or hate”. (Quarlter, T, 1962).

“All of the functions performed in the political system - political socialization, political recruitment, political communication, interest articulation, interest aggregation, rule-making, rule-application, and rule adjudication- are performed by means of communication. Parents, teachers, and priests, for example, impart political socialization through communication. Interest group leaders and representatives and party leaders perform their articulation and aggregation functions by communicating demands and policy recommendations. Legislators enact laws on the basis of information communicated to them and by communicating with one another and with other elements of the political system. In performing their functions, bureaucrats receive and analyze information from the society and from various parts of the polity.

Similarly judicial process is carried on by means of communication”. (Almond, G; 1960).

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Mass media are channels of communication which the exigencies of living brought into existence, they have

been described in exotic terms as these:

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Mass Media: Mass media of communication comprise the Press (Newspapers, Magazines, Comic Booklets, Radio, Television, Cinema) and other means of communication which reach large heterogeneous audiences and in which there is an impersonal medium between the sender and receiver. (Olayiwola, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1996, 2011, 2012, 2013). A mass medium is essentially a working group organized round some devices for circulating the same messages, at about the same time, to large numbers of people. The term mass media is also used to refer to the institutions and techniques by which specialized groups employ technological devices to disseminate symbolic content to large, heterogeneous and widely dispersed audiences. It is that form of communication process which utilized mechanical electronic instruments and devices to create news and information, ideas and images and to transmit such messages simultaneously to a mass audience.

Political Communication: By this term we refer to that subset of communicatory activity considered political by virtue of the consequences, actual and potential, that it has for the functioning of the political system. It is also used as a process in which informational and persuasive messages are transmitted from the political institutions of society through the mass media to the citizenry to whom they are ultimately accountable. It is the role that communication plays in political institutions and processes, and the role politics plays in shaping communication processes.

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