1.1 Background to the Study
Politics and media are interwoven and critical to sustainable democracy because both involve the people, process of communication, utilization of resources and decision making. Kolade and Yankah, (1997), submitted that “politics and broadcast media are mutually beneficial because people must communicate with one another and the sovereign power of the people is not negotiable within the context of party politics and the broadcast media”. (p. 7). Omu and Oboh (2008) also noted that broadcast media play significant role in the conduct of politics in any country, (p. 10), Hence, Ogor (2002) posited that in a democratic society broadcasting is the “Oxygen of Democracy” (p. 74). It breathes life into political activities, makes government accountable to the people and an avenue for feedback on government policies, programmes and initiatives. Against this background, Ogor (2002) stated “it is the responsibility of the broadcast media to help increase the level of general awareness and mobilisation of the populace and even as an active participant in the shaping of democratic values through education and public enlightenment”, (p.86).
This postulation therefore set the stage forthe commencement of broadcasting in Nigeria in 1933 through the “Redifussion Service” on Glover Street, Lagos to broadcast the policy ofthe then Governor General of Nigeria, Sir Macpherson. The Redifussion service,an offshore radio service from Britain could be described as a product ofpolitics, self interests and assertiveness by the British colonial power tobroadcast news from Britain to its colony – Nigeria. The colonial powercontrols the operations of the Redifussion Service in terms of contents andprogrammes, modelled after the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), operatedas a state monopoly. The control ofthe Redifussion service was the first attempt at broadcast media regulation by government.To accentuate the colonial government monopoly on the broadcast media, in 1956, the colonial government enacted an Actof Parliament (Ordinance No 39) enabling the conversion of Redifussion servicefrom the BBC control apparatus to Nigerian Broadcasting Service, (NBS). Itsrole then was to regulate the operations of radio station in terms of ethicalstandard of fairness, objectivity and balance of news and programmes, NBC(2002) noted.
By 1957, the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, (NBC), came into existence to replace NBS, as the broadcasting regulator. “In October 1959, the famous Western Nigerian Television/Broadcasting Service, (WNTV/WNBS) funded by the Western regional government under late the Obafemi Awolowo’s Action Group was established. According Ejiofor,(2002), “WNTV/WNBS” was founded by Chief Obafemi Awolowo to have a voice and a right of reply to the central government broadcasting station- “the Redifussion Service”. The Redifussion Service had turned down the request of the then late Premier of Western Region to reply to an allegation against him by the Colonial government. In 1960, Eastern Region Government set up its own television service, Eastern Nigerian Television Service,(ENTS). This was followed by Radio Television Kaduna established by the former Northern Nigerian Government, an arm of the Broadcasting Company of Northern Nigeria, (BCNN), in March, 1962. In the same year, the Federal government established the Nigerian Television Service, (NTS) in Lagos. The (NTS) later changed its name to the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation /Television, (NBC/TV). All the regional broadcast stations in Ibadan, Kaduna and Enugu were merged under the NBC/TV. The radio arm came under the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) through military directive. Later in the same year, General Olusegun Obasanjo led federal military administration took over these television stations in 1978 and changed the name to the Nigerian Television Authority, (NTA). The main media regulatory agency in the early broadcast years was Posts and Telecommunications which later changed to the Ministry of Information and Culture till now.