A Critical Analysis of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC)code in Nigeria
Objectives of the study.
The aims and objectives of this study are:
- To find out to what extent news staffs are aware of the NBC code.
- To examine in what methods NBC code is being carried out on Radio Lagos.
- To find out if NBC code in anyway aids Radio Lagos’s professionalism.
- To examine the implication of NBC code on Radio Lagos’s programme.
- To find out to what extent the Radio Lagos’s closure in 2005 affected its news reportage.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMMISSION (NBC)
The 1989 National Mass Communication Policy Conference held in Badagry fully articulated the desire to open up broadcasting. It was argued that if the print media can be deregulated, there was no justifiable reason for not doing the same to radio and television, while those against the idea said private ownership of electronic media could put such an influential tool in the hands of wealthy people who were most likely to use it to promote their own personal interest to the detriment of the nation’s goals.
At last, the call for deregulation of the electronic media was answered in 1992, with the promulgation of decree No 38 of 1992 under the head of state General Ibrahim Babangida, the decree set up the National Broadcasting Commission to actualize the approval and regulate the industry.
Review of Concepts
Concept of Code
Bringing the concept into perspective, Harvey (1999:p 2) states: Code involves intervention by the state in areas of economic, social or cultural life according to whatever political norms are characteristics of that nation state. Code may be issued by presidential decrees, by religious prescription or by legislative action within a system of representative democracy: Code may be administered directly by government, as it was in Nigeria before 1992. It could also be through statutory agencies that enjoy some degree of independence from government. This is exemplified by National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, of Nigeria; the Federal Communications Commission, FCC, of USA; and Independent Television Commission, ITC, of Britain. At the basic level of broadcasting, code involves the issuance of permission, that is, the granting of license to broadcasting organizations. In most countries like Nigeria, the licenses are costly to acquire by private organizations. For instance by 2006, the lowest license fee for private radio was 15 million naira; as against the lowest for public stations: 10 million naira (NBC News; 2006, p.13).
Moreover, broadcasting code is dependent on the cultural norms and also “contributes to the shaping of these norms which can at times have a significant impact on the form and content of programmes” (Harvey; 1999, p.3), thereby affecting the economic and management structures of broadcasting. An appraisal of the philosophy and practice of broadcasting regulation would reveal its impact on the overall broadcasting activities in Nigeria.
Approaches to Broadcasting Regulation.
Before delving into the approaches to broadcast regulation in Nigeria, reference must be made to the approaches in Britain and USA, the reason being that Nigeria is a former British colony and currently practices the presidential system of government after the United States pattern. In Britain, after series of radical changes in policies, the
Independent Television Commission, ITC, was established under a Broadcasting Act of
1990 to enhance free programming as it replaced the old Independent Broadcasting Authority. According to Harvey (1999, p.7) the act charged ITC to ensure that
“television services are high quality and offer a wide range of programmes calculated to appeal to variety of tastes and interest.’’ Then, the ITC was given the “power to scrutinize applicants,” programme plans and only those judged to be of sufficient quality would be allowed to proceed to the license bidding state.’’(Harvey; 1999,p. 9).
The continued emphasis on quality and diversity should be seen as evidence of a regulatory body determined to pursue public interest objectives. In USA, the broadcasting regulation is rooted in the First Amendment of the American Constitution
“that congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech or of the press” (Pember; 2004, p. 294). The regulation in the US is handled by the Federal Communications Commission, FCC, which is charged with the implications of the Fairness Doctrine. FCC gave license but did not make specific provisions. In Nigeria, the NBC is solely in charge of broadcasting regulation. The body was established by Decree 38 of 1992 that was later amended by the NBC (Amendment) Decree No 55 of 1999 under the administration of General Abduisalami Abubakar. (MRA, 2001, p.10). It should be noted that the state monopoly of broadcasting ended with the promulgation of the deregulation decree; hence, private concerns started operating radio and television stations.
The method that will be used in this research work is survey, while Questionnaire will be used to gather data, from a sample which is the entire population, because the population is small.
Each member of the population will be asked series of questions through questionnaire and conclusion will be drawn from their responses gathered which will be used to solve problem at hand. Survey method will be adopted in this research work to handle large population of Radio Lagos people to ensure that the sample was representing the entire population of Radio Lagos.
This study involves the systematic collection of data from the population of the study. This method will be used to get the opinion of Radio Lagos people about the implication of NBC code on their broadcast stations.
The research design to be used in this work is the survey design. This design is one in which a group of people or items are studied by collecting and analyzing data from only a few people or items considered to be representative of the entire group. This survey design would be used to study Radio Lagos on the implication of NBC code on their broadcasting media.
Population of Study
In conducting a research of this nature, a specific or certain population must be studied and therefore population under study must be represented, and in doing this a sample population was chosen. Population can therefore be defined as a group of people living in a particular country, state, area, to describe the nature of a population that is a group or class of a subject, variable concept or phenomena to achieve or examine the population of an area, country e.t.c. A census must be conducted. The population of Radio Lagos comprises of the staff and management of the broadcast station who are 118 in number.
Therefore, the population figure of this study is 118.
DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
The purpose of this study was to determine the implication of the national broadcasting code on the broadcasting media. This chapter is concerned with the presentation and analysis of data collected through the use of questionnaire distributed to the respondents. One hundred and eighteen copies of questionnaire were distributed and one hundred and eighteen copies were relived. This represented a response rate of 100%.
The study answered the following questions.
- To what extent is Radio Lagoss news staff aware of the NBC Code?
- What methods do NBC use to ensure its code is complied with by Radio Lagos?
- Does NB code in anyway aid Radio Lagos’s professionalism?
- Of what implication is NBC code on Radio Lagos’s programme?
- To what extent did the NBC closure of Radio Lagos in 2005 affect the organization (Radio Lagos)?
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The objective of this study was to determine the “implication of NBC code on broadcasting media (a study of Radio Lagos Lagos). Survey research design was adopted, using the questionnaire for gathering of data. In addition to the analysis of data and discussion of findings, this chapter presented the summary of findings, conclusion and recommendation.
The findings of this study that
- NBC was established by decree no 38 of August 24 1992 under the head of state Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and the TOBC has a code for regulating the broadcast media.
- Also, at the basic level of broadcasting, code involves the issuance of permission, that is, the granting of license to broadcasting organization.
- NBC as a regulatory body has various sources of regulation which are:
- Content monitoring
- Sanction processes
- Government agencies
- Professional organizations
- Commercial lobbies etc
- It also showed how Radio Lagos being studies make their operation to conform with th replication guiding them.
- The reason for media broadcasting in any7 society is to freely keep the society informed about activities going on in every part of the society, including protecting of the basic institution of the society.
- NBC code can influence the performance of any media house especially the private media, because the fear of been sanctioned or license withdrawn can prevent any broadcast medium from adequately performing its duties.
- Also, NBC code should not be dissolved as it helps to keep the broadcast media in check, in stood it should improve its code and give room for press freedom.
This study has been able to demonstrate that NBC code is inevitable, as it has both positive and negative implication on the overall performance of any media house.
Also that the procedure adopted by the commission in sanctioning Radio Lagos on
October 24 2005 violated its own code particularly the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting code action of the NBC violates the right to fair hearing under the NBC code.
Due to the NBC ban of the Radio Lagos, the organization was affected financially and image use its sense of news judgment was affected.
Findings also indicated that the organization retrenched some corners and forced to restructure, the ban also affected its mode of operation and other media activities like programming, news content etc.
Based on the findings and conclusions of this study the following recommendations are made.
- The NBC code should not be dissolved but should improved upon to apply fairly to both government and private owned stations.
- The NBC should have it a their responsibility in caring the broadcast media along in their policies.
- The NBE should Endeavour to give room to fair hearing in their code as well as actions.
- The NBC should also Endeavour to make their code comfort with their operations.
- Government should give the make the benefit of doubt to perform their duty to the society without excess control through the NBC.
- Also, the NBC should always investigate properly in the case of a broadcast medium that violates its code before carrying out its actions.
Suggestions for Further Studies
It is hoped that future researchers will improve on its study if further research is carried out, using more tools, a larger sample size and probably another geographical area, this will give the stole a wider scope and empirical lift.
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