BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The Media represent an essential and integral part of democratic process in any political community. Their statutory functions of enlightenment, education and entertainment have placed them on a pedestal of alertness and vigilance such that they have become an indispensable part of social governance. As whistle blowers, they inform the populace, set agenda for social discourse and hold public opinion through their editorial comments, public opinion corner and opinion articles.
Through their watch dog oversight, they bring to the public space shoddy deals of government which in most cases violate the basic freedoms of the people. It is through these checks that the principles of good governance are respected. This lays the essence of the libertarian theory of the Media. It proposes that it is the duty of journalists to protect the rights of the citizens against the excesses of government officials, not for the Media to protect the government against public criticism (Oboh, 2014, p. 40).
The image of a nation might as well be its destiny. Nigeria’s disfigured image in the global village has become an insignia of dishonesty, dishonour and disrespect. It is a known fact that majority of Nigerians are industrious, God-fearing and law-abiding, but a tiny minority is destroying the image of the country through their activities. Inept leaders who rule with impunity and have complete disregard for the people, spending their resources without a recourse to the feeling of other is like adding insult to injury (Olupohunda, para 15).
The positive perception of a country’s image is therefore an important gauge for judging her stand in the international political system. A good image translates into respect, influence and prestige. On the other hand, a bad or negative perception points to the contrary. Consequently, all countries endeavour to build, maintain and enhance their images in relation to other countries.
There is no arguing that the image we have of another country says a lot about how we view it as a tourist destination, a place to invest or a source of consumer goods (Frost, 2004:8). The factors that determine a nation’s image (for good or for bad) can be both internal and external. Internally, a succession of regimes of bad policies and practice can lead to this. Externally, it could be through participation in foreign military and humanitarian missions. An image problem usually occurs when there are both internal and external factors that sway the pendulum towards a negative image. Whatever the source of an image problem, many a country would do all that is possible to overcome such an image.
Nigeria for a very long time has witnessed an abysmal rating among the comity of nations. According to Saliu (2002) “it could be argued that the negative image of Nigeria was part of the biases of the global system towards the African continent”. He pursues the argument “a section of the international system – often derives pleasure in advertising negative occurrences in Africa while the positive aspects of the continent are conveniently ignored, or half-heartedly projected”.
However, corrupt practices by both the leadership and followers has not helped Nigeria’s image. Monday (2010, para.4) listed Nigeria’s rating by the Transparency International starting from 1996 when she was rated as the most corrupt country in the world. The same occurred in 1997 and 2000 respectively. According to Monday, in 1999, 2001 and 2003, Nigeria was rated as the second most corrupt nation in the world. In 2004 and 2005, she was tagged the third most corrupt; in 2006, she became the fifth and subsequently the ninth and sixteenth in the year 2007 and 2008. Currently, she holds the position of 134th out of 178 countries in the year 2010. This shows that nothing much has changed in the way Nigeria is viewed by her neighbours despite the attempts at re-branding the image of the country.
It is important to note that the expectation of the media with regard to their contribution to development lies in their ability to put the government of the day under close monitoring. This is made manifest in the media’s watchdog’s role in examining the conduct of public servants, especially the politicians, which is a task that is germane to democracy. This democratic task becomes challenging, owing to the fact that democratic institutions in Nigeria and Africa are still evolving and therefore require the efforts of midwives whose responsibility is performed by the media. Mass media performance concerning public sector ethics and civil servants morality should be seen as significant and therefore requires a close scrutiny.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Nigeria is regarded as the giant of Africa and one of the world’s largest oil producing countries. Her position is therefore strategic and vital in the scheme of things in the world. A lot of countries in Africa look up to her for help during conflict and in fact receive financial aid from her to drive their economy when in distress. The western world also sees her as the stabilizing factor in West Africa and a good source for doing business in the oil sector.
However, over the years, Nigeria’s image has eroded badly due to poor leadership and management problems. She is no longer regarded as a force to be reckoned with in the international arena and Africa due to the myriad of image problems that have bogged her down and made her a pariah of sorts. Her citizens have also lost credibility in the international fora because of various antisocial activities by both the citizens and government officials that portray the country in a bad light.
Successive governments have fashioned out re-branding projects, which were meant to launder the image of Nigeria, positively both internally and externally. The major instrument used by the government to achieve this aim is the mass media.
Political activities assumed a dangerous dimension as contestants see their victory as the ticket to loot and amass wealth. Specifically, corruption became legitimized, especially during the Babangida and Abacha regimes
(1985-1998), with huge revenues, but wasteful spending, and nothing to show in terms of physical developments.
The culture of corruption through what Nigerians have come to know, as settlement syndrome became part of the country’s political culture. All the positive values for development were jettisoned. Governmental agencies that were the pilots of socioeconomic developments were decimated. The decline in the education sector today has its roots in this period (Nwaka, 2003).
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective for this study is to examine Mass media as an instrument in eradicating corruption in Nigeria. The specific objectives of this study are:
1. To ascertain the impact mass media on the rate of corruption in Nigeria.
2. To find out the factors responsible for corruption in Nigeria.
3. To determine the effects of corruption in Nigeria.
4. To investigate the role of mass media in curbing corruption in Nigeria.
The relevant research questions related to this study are:
1. What is the impact mass media on the rate of corruption in Nigeria?
2. What are the factors responsible for corruption in Nigeria?
3. What are the effects of corruption in Nigeria?
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