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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The human society we live in is that of law and ethics,
control and regulations. In essence therefore, the legal maxim ‘ubi societas ibijus’ (where there is society, there is
law) stresses this fact. Laws, standards, guidelines and rules promote ethics
while ethical principles reinforce the pillar of the law (Okoro, 1998:174).
Therefore, no organised society in the world can exist with it citizens
carrying out their normal functions without rules and regulations. In the
absence of law and order, there will be chaos and anarchy.
Communication, and particularly broadcasting, according to
(Ibagere 1996: 93) is regarded as: An important aspect of national by which professional bodies established must regulate its standards of practice
in order to sanitize its activities. This is usually by government or pressure
groups. it must ensure that the broadcast industry operate within the confines
of public morality which should be determined by self-imposed censorship
effected by also a professional body.
Broadcasting, with its sensitive nature and a wider
coverage area, is a very powerful organ of mass communication. It is also
dependent on air waves-electromagnetic spectrum, which belongs to the public.
Therefore, governments all over the world have shown diverse interests in
broadcasting because of the existence of its vital ingredient- the airwaves
(electro — magnetic spectrum) which is a natural resource. There is
a universal acceptance that the airwaves formed within the air space above the
territorial boundaries of any nation is a bonfires property of that country. Therefore, often government and other designated agencies
are charged with regulating the airwaves so as to ensure that they benefit the
nation as a whole now and in the future.
Ume- Nwagbo. E. (1995 : 15) citing (Head 1976:5) affirms
that: No country can afford to leave so powerful and persuasive an avenue
of public communication completely unregulated without shaping it to some
degree in accord with public policy and national interest.
Again, broadcasting which invites legal controls because
of the need to prevent interference and also for the efficient use of the
spectrum for the public interest and to manage its potential for social
control, is regulated the world over usually by an agency of government. In
this case, it is the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) (Ogor, 2002 :78).
Broadcasting, due to its delicate, spontaneous and
ubiquitous nature, demonstrates awesome power in shaping society. It has been
described in varied terms.
In economic terms, broadcasting serves as a compass that
helps in indicating the fluctuations in stocks, shares and other indices. In
social life, it is a veritable instrument for shaping social and family
values across generations. In politics’, it remains a sine qua non In Conveying
messages to and from voters and a vehicle of agenda legitimization, sometimes
of outright campaign by nations.
Frequencies which all the broadcast stations use to convey
messages are, therefore, closely and scrupulously monitored and regulated in
the public interest. Bako, 2002: 2). Among the different media of mass
communication, the broadcast media have always been a source of worry to
governments. One major reason for government control of broadcasting is
based on the fact that the air waves (electromagnetic
spectrum) are a scarce public resource. It is argued that this resource should
be controlled and allocated by the government in the way best suitable for
serving the public good (Okunna, 1999: 77). Odunewu, (1996: 285), while
discussing the need for the press to embrace self-regulation, cited from the
works of legendary.
Mahatma Gandhi of India that “the Press is a great power
but, just as an unchained torrent submerges the whole countryside and devastate
crops, an uncontrolled broadcast serves but to destroy. It can be more
profitable when control is exercised from within the profession”.
Furthermore, for the broadcast media to remain relevant in
the lives of Nigerians, it needs to be regulated in one way or the other for
the benefit of the generality of the public. Ugboajah (1987: 155) contends that
public interest in broadcasting is not a myth and cited Dennis (1974) in
support of position that “Government regulation of certain communication
activities affected with public interest ‘is actually in public interest”.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The essence of establishing the NBC was to monitor and
bring erring stations under control. However, it has been observed according to
(Odiaka, 2001: 13; Saidu, 2002: 36; King, 2003: 19, and Ogor, 2003: 16) that
many stations violate the Broadcast Code because there has not been any
effective application of sanctions on stations contravening the provisions of
Therefore, as the main regulator of the broadcast
industry, has the NBC been able to ensure that the broadcast stations adhere
strictly to the NBC Code and is the Code, which is the only instrument, used in
measuring performance of
the various broadcast stations, an effective and efficient
means of measuring performance?
The in-depth analysis of these questions as vel1 as the
attempt to seek answers to them form the problem of this study.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
This study generally aims to find out how the NBC has been
performing its statutory role since inception. Specifically, the study is meant
to find out the following:
(1) The extent the NBC has been able to perform its
monitoring role as a watchdog of the broadcast industry.
(2) The extent of compliance of the
various broadcast stations with the NBC code of conduct.
government’s reasons for hesitating to deregulate the industry have been
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
following research questions have been formulated to guide this study:
(1) To what extent has the NBC been able
to perform its monitoring role as the ‘watch dog’ of the broadcast industry?
(2) How far have the stations complied with the NBC Code
government’s reasons for hesitating to deregulate the industry, have there been
cases of erring stations?
(4) Who are the worst violators-the public or private
(4) What various measures have been
applied by the NBC to bring stations into compliance with the Broadcast Code?
(5) To what extent has the NBC applied its powers as specified
in section 2
land (2) of the NBC Act No. 38 of 1992?
1.5 DEFINITION OF TERMS
(1) Critical Appraisal:
to the Thesaurus Dictionary (1998: 128) Critical Appraisal means evaluation,
judgment, estimate and assessment. For the purpose of this study, critical
appraisal means thorough evaluation and examination to judge the performance or
to find out desirable or undesirable development within the broadcast industry
means the National Broadcasting Commission. It is the official regulatory organ
of the government established to monitor, supervise and regulate the broadcast
industry in Nigeria.
Thesaurus Dictionary (1998: 116) defines control as Command, management,
mastery, regulation, direction, sway, rule, dominion, domination, jurisdiction,
authority, supervision, and charge. However, in this study, controlling of the
broadcast industry will only mean regulation, management, direction,
supervision, authority, charge, setting of rules and standards to sanitize the
means discharge, accomplishment, execution, transaction, fulfillment,
attainment, conduct, effect ration and achievement of the operators of the
broadcast industry according to the standards and guidelines set by the NBC.
refers to the public and private radio and television stations, including cable
television services, direct satellite broadcast and any other medium of
broadcasting in Nigeria.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Since the emergence of the National Broadcasting
Commission (NBC) about ten years ago, few studies have been documented
empirically on the role of this organization as the nation’s broadcast media
regulator. This study draws its uniqueness from the concerted effort to
evaluate the role of the NBC in controlling the broadcast media in Nigeria.
This is with a view to properly and empirically document the findings unlike
other efforts which are mainly reported in conference papers, newspaper
articles or in-house publications.
Furthermore, this study will help encourage further
research in the area because there is still a lot of gap to be filled. This
study is an added knowledge and insight to issues of broadcast regulations in
Nigeria. It would therefore, also provide useful reference material for
lecturers and students of mass communication, researchers as well as media practitioners,
especially main-stream broadcasters.
Finally, the study will also be useful in providing a
database for mass communication policy makers so that better policies
formulated to enhance the performance of the NBC. It would also serve as a
guide to all stakeholders in the industry.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
For a study of this nature, the researcher has been
constrained in the following ways:
(1) The limited resources and time for this kind of study
would not allow for gathering of adequate data from the entire newspaper
houses, advertising agencies and radio/television houses in Nigeria. This has
also constrained the researcher from using a combination of methods of data
collection for the study.
A major limitation encountered during the administration of the
questionnaire was the gratification or reward expected by
the respondents from the researcher so that the copies could be filled. It
almost made the elicitation of the data impossible.
(3) It is expected that by the purposive sampling method
employed for the study, the respondents actually know about the deregulation of
the broadcast industry and the role of the NBC.
Nevertheless, it is difficult to ascertain the
amount of bias introduced into the findings of the study because the
respondents may not be truthful in answering the questionnaire.
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