Background to Study
Statement of problem
Objective of Study
Significance of Study
Scope and Limitations of the Study
of the Role of the Media
Functions of the mass media
The Media, Crime and Violence
Media and National Security in Nigeria
Politics of Media Coverage
Media as threat to National Security
Media and State Legislations in Nigeria
Decree No.2 of 1984 and Decree No 4 of
Abacha's Dictatorship and the State of the Nation
Summary and Conclusion
Background to Study
mass media comprises the means by which a society disseminates and receives
information. The traditional instruments of the mass media to the modern man
are the newspapers, magazines, radio and television. The Journalist is a human
being, he studies other human creatures, report about human being and human
beings are the source of his information. In essence, journalism is a social
relation. The information disseminated by the journalist could be harmful or
useful depends on its contents. This is where the issue of security comes in.
The media transmit messages about a particular society. No one else can play
this role. The information is passed across a destination to achieve a goal.
The Nigerian press like any other country, is always made to be seen at the Centre
of any national crisis, mainly due to its roles in informing and educating the
masses. These roles could fit into the social responsibility of the mass media.
has since 1984 grapple with the reality of political, economic and social
instability. The media has not been an exception the press has since then gone
through several institutional manipulations. The institution of the media has
been reduced overtime to mere tools in the hands of the governing class to
legitimize and perpetuate their illegitimate rule. The illegitimate role has
become easy to joist on the media because of the challenges it had to cope with
in the discharge of its statutory functions in Nigeria. Challenges such as:
poor remunerations, poor condition of service, job insecurity, nepotism,
exposure to hazards, inadequate facilities for research and development etc
have left the media practitioners and its elites at the mercy of the political
class. Hence the ease with which the media has become vulnerable to the
dictates of the political class. This is further corroborated by the increasing
proliferation of media organizations in Nigeria. This change in the media
ownership structure has tended towards the dangerous trend of using the media
to promote political, economic and social interest in Nigeria.
professional terms security could be defined as the prevention of unlawful
possession or to protect a person, people or place from attack. It is also the
protection of lives and properties from intruders, attack, trespassers or
theft. National security may be defined as the means at the disposal of the
government for protecting the state from external aggression and internal
insurrection. National security can also be defined as the protection of lives,
rights, dignity and property of its citizens. It also means the protection of
its resources, territory, sovereignty and lawful institutions of the country.
The aim of national security is to secure the just and equitable living
conditions for all the citizens of the country.
Nigeria there have been growing threats to national security, particularly in
the light on internal and external pressure which has brought to bear on the
country in recent times due to politics, fluctuation in global oil price,
religious bigotry and the rise of ethnic militia have manifested themselves in
the form of increased criminal activity and near break down of law and order.
The press can contribute to national security by preserving national
consciousness. Wali holds the view that:
function of the press in any society include surveillance of the environment,
correlation of the components of society in responding to the environment and
transmission of the social heritage.
security is principally achieved in two ways: first, administrative method.
This is by the application of intelligence and counter-intelligence. Second, by
repressive legislation e.g. the Official Secret Act, Seditious Act for the
purpose of this study the main concern is the repressive legislation.
freedom of expression and the press is necessary for a true democracy. It is a
very crucial ingredient of democracy considering that fact that the media is
the gate keeper for transaction of message about a particular society. No one else
can play this role. There are two characteristics of democracy, first is the
freedom of the press and second is the recognition of the fundamental human
rights. These rights are enshrined in chapter four of the 1999 constitution of
the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the rights to freedom of expression and
person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold
opinion and to receive and import ideas and information without interference.
mass media in Nigeria can be a powerful influence in maintaining national
good media or mass media professional must have a genuine interest in people.
The primary focus is on issues that benefits the general public and uphold
fairness, justice, national unity and international cooperation. It is in the
light of this that this study discusses national security and the role of the
press in Nigeria The police who are primarily concerned with the maintenance of
law and order on behalf of the public are inevitably placed in a position where
close cooperation with the media is imperative in combating crime and ensuring
media is capable of mobilizing people to achieve the desired objective of state
security. People are mobilized through ideological exposure and political
education into the socio-cultural factors which govern their behaviour to
produce in them a sense of pride in themselves and patriotism for the
collective as well as a belief that they are capable of mastering their own
destiny by controlling nature and organizing themselves.
media could serve as a threat to security by way of espionage, by which a
nation, organization or individuals employ to procure information concerning
the interests of another country to which they are not, by law, entitled. The
information sought pertains to the secret affairs of the target country in
strategic areas including military, industries, politics, technology etc. for
hostile purpose. Other forms of threat to security include propaganda,
terrorism, subversion, sabotage, insurgency, guerilla warfare."
of the most serious social problems facing Nigeria today is the dangerous
increase in the incidence of violent crimes. Crime reflects the character of a
people. It is in the light of this that this study discusses the role of the
media in national security in Nigeria. In this study therefore all reference to
the media will emphasize the principal functions of the media as a watch-dog
capable of blowing the whistle to call attention to serious national issues.
The power of the media to decide what the people should read, see or hear has
never been in doubt. What has been in doubt is the capacity of those in whose
hands reside such enormous powers to use that power judiciously and in public
media is the gate keeper for transmission of message about a particular
society. No one else can play this role or is authorized to play this role. The
greatest challenge to the mass media in Nigeria today is how to make itself
relevant to the Nigerian society. It is very crucial for the media to make
itself very relevant particularly in a developing country like Nigeria where
democracy is on trial and national institutions are taking shape, the media
must tread wearily and exercise great discretion if it is to preserve its
freedom and contribute its quota to the building of national unity. In the
light of this, this study will evaluate the role of the media in national
security in Nigeria from 1984 when Decree No. 2 which threatened press freedom
was promulgated by General Muhamm adu Buhari, to 2007, when the debate on the
Freedom of Information Bill (FOB) was on.
1.3 Objectives of
objectives of this study are:
Study the media and national security in
Nigeria from 1984 to 2007
Provide useful information on the media
and national security in Nigeria
Examine the relationship between the
media and state security
Assess the impact of the media on
national security in
1.4 Significance of
spite of the growing expenditure on security by the Nigerian government, the
fear of insecurity among some Nigerians is increasing. This is a challenge not
only to the government but to the media and the society at large. This is the
justification for this study. The freedom of expression and the press is
necessary for a true democracy. It is a very crucial ingredient of a true
democracy. There are two characteristics of democracy: first is the freedom of
the press and second is the recognition of the fundamental human rights. These
rights are contained in chapter four of the 1999 constitution of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria.
following questions would be a guide in this study:
What was the relationship between the
media and national security in Nigeria between the period 1984 and 2007?
What impact did the media have on state
security in the period of study?
How did state security operation affect
How did media activities affect state
study adopts historical method in examining the role of the media in national
security in Nigeria from the period 1984 to 2007. The study would rely on
extensive use of secondary sources by way of text books, journal articles, newspaper
publications and books on the subject matter.
Scope and Limitation of the
study attempts to evaluate the role of the mass media in Nigeria's national
security this study because it was the year in which Nigerians and indeed the
mass media were subjected to the draconian media legislations. 2007 is chosen
as the terminal date for this study because it was in the year the country
started witnessing agitation by mass media operatives for greater freedom by
asking the government for a Freedom of Information Bill (FOB). The study would
examine the relationship between the mass media and state security operatives
in the period of study. The study would assess the impact of the function of
the media on national security.
book by Wali Press Freedom and National Security gives a comprehensive
analysis of what security entails and a good detail on press freedom. The book
was found very useful as far as issues of state security and freedom of the press
is concerned. The book did not however discuss current problems face by media
book Contemporary Issues in Mass Media for Development and National Security.
Touché on various subjects affecting the media. The book is a Compilation
of articles published in chapters by stakeholders in the media industry.
Various chapters of the book were found useful to this study.
Human Rights Report is a synthesis of the four years of
tyrannical and incompetent rule of Nigeria's brutal dictator, General Sanni Abacha.
The publication documents the severe human rights abuses under the Abacha
regime and reports on improvements since the rule of General Abdulsalami Abubakar.
This study agrees with Bako's view that "The Nigerian crisis; though not
now as desperate, remains unresolved.
Annual Report on the Human Right Situation in Nigeria published by the
Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR) is a documentary of the
terrific horror meted on Nigerians and the absolute human right violations by
the General Sanni Abacha junta in the year 1998. The publication also reports
on several other rights violations, which, though not the direct
responsibilities of that junta, but were mostly bred by the socio-economic
chaos and political anarchy created by it and its predecessors.
et al's Nigerian Students and the
Challenges of Leadership contains papers and discussions of students leadership
training workshop held at Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife. The book touched on very sensitive issues such the
challenges of political leadership in contemporary Nigeria, cultism and issue
of youth violence.
one: This chapter is a window to this project. It would
discuss the background to study, statement of problem, objective of study, and
significance of study. The chapter would raise some research questions, discuss
the research methodology, scope and limitation of study and review the relevant
literatures that were used.
Two: will discuss the general or basic functions of the
media and the role the media ought to play in a democracy and in particular in
a nascent democracy like that of Nigeria. The chapter would also examine the
relationship between the media, crime and violence.
Three: discusses politics of media coverage of events in
Nigeria. It raises the question on media and corruption. The chapter shows some
of the national security problems created by the media.
Four: would examine the obnoxious Decrees 2 and 4
promulgated during the military regime, the implications of these decrees on
the Nigerian press. Abacha regime and the state of the nation during the
Five: Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations. The
chapter draws conclusion to the study and makes recommendation that would be
useful to future policy makers.