An analysis of state owned broadcast media as a tool for propaganda” using Kogi Radio, Lokoja as a case study.
Price: 2000 Naira (BSC, MSC)
1.1 Background to the Study
Broadcasting, according to Robert White (1999, p.485) was introduced as a form of military communication in the 1920’s, the apogee of nationalism and government propaganda. Daniel and Rod (2011, p.37) described broadcasting “as a means of communicating to a mass audience transmitting by radio or television. He further described broadcasting as a method of distribution for television and radio signals via a network of a few powerful radio transmitters that operate in the very high (VHF) and ultra high (UHF) frequency bands of the electromagnetic spectrum, and send a signal that is picked up many less powerful receivers(TV & RADIO) located mainly in homes”.
Dominick (1990, p.175) one of the striking facts about broadcasting is that it was invented by young people for example, Marconi who developed wireless transmitter was only twenty-three when he did that and Reginald Fessenden made his first radiophone broadcast when he was thirty-four. But, can the adult misuse or abuse broadcasting media because it was the brainchild of the young people? So it could be misused by the powers that be. Citing Aiyetan (2002) in Galadima (2003, p.260) “public office holders believe they can do anything and get away with it as long as they can control media, or get a good journalist to do the dirty job of lying with facts”.
Odumegwu Ojukwu also observed thus: When a public office holder does something outlandish, the media sing his praises instead of condemning him than concentrating on more important national or state issues. Ternakur (2003, p. 261).
In a vehement support of Ojukwu’s Observation, Ternakur (2003, p.236) Citing Nwankwo (1987), describes the Nigerian mass media as “government said” media is not out of place. Government reflects the will and interests of the class that controls the existing mode of production, power bloc and political machinery in their media outfits.
Neither the government nor their media workers ever agree that they misuse the media. Every journalist disassociates himself or herself from the term “propaganda”. But Casey (1960, p.232) “the problem every media of communication faces is separating news from propaganda”. Under a free system, one can distinguish between journalist and a propagandist. Both are interested informers.
Ogidiolu (2011) propagandist believe in the ultimate aim of producing a psychological transformation but it could be noted that the recipient of propaganda often have no tangible benefit. Hassan (2002, p.420) ‘‘an appeal to one’s emotion is, perhaps the more obvious propaganda method, but there are varied other more subtle and insidious forms’’. But, journalists seek news and serve the producers of news and not the consumers of news. In the Nigerian government – owned media, journalists are propagandists. They use all known propaganda devices to achieve the aim of their pay-masters.
According to Junhao Hong, (1997, p.223), “Chinese government uses broadcast media to conduct propaganda campaigns”. The question is, is propaganda bad? In answer to this question, Ebeze (2003, p.219) “Propaganda is not composed of lies and tell stories. It operates with many different kinds of truth, half-truths, limited-truths and truth out of context”.
The author quoted Braque (1999) “modern propaganda introduces new dimensions which tend towards education and enlightenment.
Another communication thinker Gideon Sjoberg cited in John R. Bittner (2002, p.391) analyses how journalists lose their journalistic reputation which he says thus:
“Large-scale bureaucracy seems to generate a secrete side, and part of that secrete tends to become a dark side where a great deal of manipulation takes place”. He suggested that much of this manipulation is for the purpose of maintaining the bureaucracy, especially for those who hold the power. Many reporters operate within this secret domain. Yet it is also here that problems can arise. While working in this secret domain and developing many of the close contact with sources, many journalists can lose their ethical perspective.
Broadcasting media started in Nigeria in the 1930s. Ebo (1994, p.43) by 1936, radio made its debut when the first Radio Distribution Service through re-diffusion sets became operational in Lagos, Nigeria. But, what is today known as Kogi State Broadcasting Corporation (KSBC) came into being following the creation of kogi state on august 27th 1991, the staff of the corporation were drawn from both kwara and Benue with the pioneering general manager, chief Isah Edimeh. The corporation has six operational management which includes; Administration, programs, News/Current Affairs, Commercials, Finance/supply and Engineering. From inception it inherited booster stations including: radio kogi Ochaja to serve listeners in kogi east, radio kogi Otite for the people of kogi central as well as radio kogi Egbe to serve listeners in kogi west. These booster stations are in short wave band.
Towards the administration of Col. Paul Omeru in 1996 established confluence radio cited in the famous mount party, Lokoja on the frequency 94.0 mega-hatz on the frequency modulation band fm. From its inception, organization has been headed by GM like Chief Isah Edimeh, Alh. Abu Onaji (late) became the managing director who was succeeded by Aloysius Achegbulu, later Gabriel Amobeda became the GM and was succeeded by late mallam Muhammed Halilu and presently Mr. Adeku Adeba now the GM who recently has been elevated as the director general of the corporation. (KSBC Administration Department Staff, Lokoja, 2013).
According to history Mallam Isah Edimeh was sacked by the former governor, Prince Abubakar Audu in 1993 due to the acceptance of political jingles of the then opposition party (SDP) he aired on radio during the general election. Mallam Isah was latter called by the FRCN Abuja for a job offer as Executive Director News. (KSBC Staff, 2013).
Having operated for almost thirteen years now, it will be proper for a study of this nature in order to ascertain from an independent sources and the staffs of the said media whether government has used its media as a propaganda machinery or otherwise.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
All over the world, especially third world countries with less degree of free press, government has manipulated the masses using broadcasting media. Broadcasting is volatile and its potentials are unending satisfaction, as in print media. It has great potentials in information dissemination, education enlightenment, political socialization, and socio-cultural orientation. Most people forms their opinions based on what they learned from the mass media. Regrettably, observed schramm (1971), cited by Ebeze (2000, p.221)
Forming an opinion becomes more difficult when a person does not have access to adequate information ……… this information will help individual to form an opinion.
There are instances on how KSBC has been a trend of political propaganda in favour of kogi state government since its inception in 1991 to date.
• The protest of flood victims in lokoja which KSBC refused to cover.
• Research said it was banned in kogi in focus program by the state government not to air opposition’s voice during the last gubernatorial election campaign in the state.
• Kogi state university student protest against school fees increment which the journalist report to the media house was not honored.
• Also an allegation made by the state NUT against the former commissioner of local government and chieftaincy affairs that he’s sabotaging the effort of the state government against salary relativity of teachers.
• Gate keeping problem (more paragraph were given in the news bulletin to the ruling party than the opposition parties).
Since KSBC is one of the state governments – owned broadcasting media stations, it could be involved in state government propaganda machinery, like others. Therefore, the problem of this study is to get the analysis of state owned broadcast media as tool for propaganda by state governments could lead to opinion formation, information need, education and political socialization of those who expose themselves to state broadcast media. The tendency of disinformation and propaganda, the type defined by Lasswell (1937) “Propaganda are techniques of influencing human actions by the manipulation of representation” are prone to exist in a society where government misuses the media.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
Based on this seemingly observation, the Objectives of this study include.
1. To determine whether Kogi State Broadcasting Corporation is involved in sycophantic formalism.
2. To find out whether the General Manager of Kogi State Broadcasting Corporation was sacked by the state governor based on the opposition parties jingles he aired on radio.
3. To determine the level of government censorship of the broadcast media outputs.
4. To find out how friendly is the station to state ruling political party’s opposition groups.
1.4 Research Questions
a) Does Kogi State Broadcasting Corporation involve in sycophantic broadcasting (praise singing)?
b) Does government owned media ever showed equal and balance coverage and reportage of opposition groups’ activities with that of the government in power?
c) To what extent has the kogi state government used KSBC for propaganda?
d) What is the extent of government censorship in KSBC?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The benefits of this study are numerous. An analysis of state owned Broadcast media as a tool for Propaganda, demands serious empirical investigation because of its significance. The following are the significance of the study;
It will serve as a guide for researchers, policy makers and media professionals.
Another relevance of the study, it gives room for respondents to express their feelings as regard government owned media as a tool for propaganda.
It brings to light the fact that media owners and operators should see media as a tool for development rather than seeing it as a tool for propaganda.
The significant of the study is that it serves as reference materials for those who may want to research further in this area.
Both state government and management of KSBC will find the study useful in many aspects.
1.6 Scope of Study
This study is limited to kogi state broadcasting corporation, Lokoja and kogi state government due to the fact that it is not an easy task to examine all the government broadcast media in Nigeria.
1.7 Definitions of Terms
In order to avoid the readers’ misinterpretation of certain words or terms contained in the title of this work, the researcher defined the terms conceptionally. Such words and terms are:
i. Analysis: The detailed study or examination of something in order to understand more about it.
ii. State: Is an organized political community forming part of a country.
iii. Government: refers to a complex of institutions by which a sovereign state carries out its functions. Therefore, Government is institutionalized machinery whose purpose is to ensure peace and stability in any given political system.
iv. Broadcasting: Is the transmission of information through radio waves from a radio or television station, to the audience in far and near places, through their receivers, which help in decoding such information.
v. Media: Is a body that disseminating messages (notably news, information, entertainment, and advertising) through the use of technological device, to a large, widely dispersed and heterogeneous audience. These include Television, Radio, Newspaper, Magazine, cinema, books, audio CDs/DVD, and the internet.
vi. Propaganda: Is a specific type of message presentation directly aimed at influencing the opinion or behaviour of people, rather than impartially providing information.