Effect Of Military Ditatorship On The Nigeria Mass Media

Military Ditatorship
Military Ditatorship
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Media industry contributed positively towards the up-liftment of socialization in Nigeria.

This project work is bold step into media industry structure and then contribution to the nation at large. Several aspect of the media were analyzed. Important aspect of the media and problems that are believed to be hindering the social responsibility of the Nigeria mass media under military dictatorship were also looked into.



1.1              Background of the study

1.2              Problem of the study

1.3              Objective of the study

1.4              Significance of the study

1.5              Research question

1.6              Hypothesis

1.7              Definition of term

1.8              Limitation of the study


2.1              Sources of literature

2.2              The review

2.3              Summary of literature


3.1              Research method

3.2              Research design

3.3              Research sample

3.4              Measuring instrument.

3.5              Data collection

3.6              Data analysis

3.7              Expected results


4.1              Data analysis

4.2              Results

4.3              Discussion


5.1              Summary

5.2              Conclusion

5.3              Recommendations







There is the belief in some quarters that the Nigerian press under the military regime is characterized by the “Praise signing syndrome” of the Nigeria society. Some other critics say that Nigeria are strange among praise singers, accusers and sympathizer. When a government is in power people sing praises of the administration even in the face of glaring inefficiency of the public office holders.

On January 15, 1966 when the first military regime came into power, the late Major General J.T.U Agnyi Ironsi was eulogized for establishing a military government based on group of principles. When Ironsi was killed in July 1966 counter coup, he was described by one Newspaper columnist who was one of the most local adherent of the Ironsi administration as “A hard drinking general whose administration lacked a sense of direction.

In Gwon’s leadership he was praised flattered and worshipped. It is mentors and adviser referred to him as “God given leader” However when the revolutionary coup d etat by the late General Murtala mohammed swept Gwon out of Dodan Barracks. The same praise singers turned around to call the former God given leader such un complimentary names as Wanted man” frigitive offender” and so on

The Murtala/Obansanjo regime which handed over power to the civilian was accused of painlessness without Nigerians knowing that the successor of that regime would be on epitome of painlessness. Graft and squander mania

Again in December 31, 1984 another coup d’etal which saw major General Mohammed Buhari as the head of state and commander in chief of the armed forces of the federal republic of Nigeria came to pass with the coup, expectation of Nigeria including individuals organization and educational institution become high.

The Nigerian press as the spokes man of the people maintained ands echoed the expectations of the regime. That was another movement of looking back to what the situation was before the military came in. expressing the people’s view and opinion as to what the new military administration would do.

The print media came up with editorial features, articles, opinion columns and cartoon on the military administration. The regime never lived up to the expectation of Nigeria and was flattered by the press thereafter.

On August 07, 1985 the Nigerian mass media sang another praise song and was flattered condemning the Buhari/Idiagbor led regime. Which was ousted by the Babangida regime.

Before long in 1993 August 27, when Babangida relinquished power to the Ernest Shonekan headed national interim government of Nigeria following the annulment of |June 1993 presidential election. The Babangider regime had its own condemnation  by the Nigeria mass media.

The Abacha’s regime was with praises when it took over powers from Ernest Shonekan led interim national Government

These initial praises of the press to the change of government was significant especially when a mouth piece of the people, the press has followed with bewilderment, the defunct Shonekan led Nigeria as it deteriorated.

This is to say that the press, especially Nigeria newspapers saw the fall of the Shonekan led Nigeria coming and therefore has the most privileged opportunity to react the way they did when the military regime of General Abacha came to power. And the regime on the other hand humiliated the press by arresting, detaining and killing press men and even closing down media at will.

Yet the Nigerian mass media kept on their numerous task of publishing government activities and policies as well as making their stand or opinion on certain issues or actions of the government known. The Abdulsalam Abubakar’s regime was not an exception. The media praised him through out its nine month reign, but when it succeeded by civil rule in may 29, 1999, the media changed the tone of their praise to that of condemnation. Though not in totality but in areas of financial management.Military Ditatorship


This study, bearing in mind that the treatment meted on the Nigeria press and the alleged praise singing culture of the Nigerian press intend to look into the performance of the Nigerian press in the military regime vis-à-vis the effect of military regime on the Nigeria mass media.Military Ditatorship

Before delving into this study, it would be pertinent to look into the relationship of the Nigerian mass media and the military regime. Under which they operate. The relationship if one would say has not been all that cordial and if one should cite an example it has been unbearable.Military Ditatorship

For a press 9or mass media) to perform its social responsibilities as the watch dog of the society it should be free from extreme government control and censorship and whereby (the press) does not enjoy that freedom from excess government control and censorship. It cannot perform its social responsibility role very well.

Lazarus field (1953) asserted that for a press to be considered free, private owners and independent journalist should be free to supply news and opinions to the general public and under statutes of table and decency which are applicable to every one and not capable of arbitral and discriminatory interpretation by the ruling power.Military Ditatorship

In defining the concept “Freedom of the press” (which is now assumed as the corner stone for social responsibility of the mass media) the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe in 1978 said that if (freedom of the press) expresses a denotation and implies a connotation. Denotatively, he said that it is the right to print any thing and the right to publish any printed matter. These include the right to obtain, impact and disseminate information or ways contained in printed matter.Military Ditatorship

Connotatively, he said that the concept takes with consideration, an implication that in any democratic society the exercise of any right is not absolutely but relative. Therefore implies according Azikwe, freedom of the press implies the right to obtain, impact or covey ideas or information through the medium of the pres and other mass media. And it would be important to look into freedom of the press (in Nigeria) under military regimes. It is widely agreed that Nigeria is one of the countries in the world that has been extensively ruled by Khaki boys” hence her press has also been controlled extensively by the boys. By the forgoing it is also agreed that military government in the country have not created an environment for the press to perform its watch doggery and voice of the voiceless roles. It ranges from harassment to assassination of pressmen and incessant closure of media houses.Military Ditatorship

This has made the profession resemble practice of walking on a tight rope one where by any wrong step would lead its practitioners into trouble. Ekwelle (1970) recognized this fact when he stated that the Nigeria press during military regimes operate under difficulties Military Ditatorship

Utoni (1981) also share the opinion that the Nigerian press has suffered grievously at the hands of the military according to him “Physical harassment of journalists and appointment and removal of government controlled newspaper and the most chronicled forms of restraints to press performance arising from any press interaction”

From all indication the Nigeria mass media here suffered a lot in the hand so the ruling powers especially the military dictators, and this has been responsibly for the praise singing syndrome which the media has been accused of.Military Ditatorship

Following this, its social responsibility under military dictatorship it questioned yet the mass media forged on and with the accusation leveled against the media the subsequent harassments arrest and detention and their closure, the media have woken up to the challenges, hence it is a ting-of-war between them and military dictators

We shall however, exerted by the military dictators on the media, which encourages the praise singing syndrome and in certain cases the practice of revolutionary journalism


This study is very important as it mirrors down the treatment meted on the mass media and their practitioners by military dictators including their agents. It is as well important as it bring to line right or exposes those aspiring to go into the profession on what they expect in the course of engaging themselves in the profession.

For the students, it is beneficial for them too, plus media practitioners themselves, government parastatals and its agencies and humanitarian organizations for the purpose of regulating the unbridled control of the military on the media.Military Ditatorship


Following the harassment arrest, detention (without trial) and subsequent closure of most media houses in recent times around the nation. I decide to write this topic to assess the kind of relationship that is going on between the Nigeria mass media under the military regime. In which they operate in. it is though this that we can develop modalities to find out if the media has been able to meet up with social responsibility which is expected of them of their various audience.Military Ditatorship


  1. Does freedom of the press exist in Nigerian.
  2. Does the Nigeria mass media practitioners perform their duties without hitches as the watch dog of the society

iii.                Does the treatment meted on media practitioners and some media houses make the profession more challenging and worthwhile.Military Ditatorship

  1. Mass media practitioners are often harassed, arrested, beat and even detained why
  2. Is the Nigeria mass media socially responsible.

1.6       HYPOTHESES

H1:      Freedom of the press exists in Nigeria

Ho:      Freedom of the press does not exist in Nigeria

H2:      The Nigerian mass media practitioners perform their duties without hitches as the watch dog of the society.

Ho:      The Nigerian mass media practitioners do not perform their duties without hitches as the watch dog of the society.Military Ditatorship

H3:      The treatment meted on media practitioners and some media houses make the profession more challenging and worthwhile

Ho:      The treatment meted on media practitioners and some media houses does not make the profession challenging and worthwhile.Military Ditatorship

H4:      Mass media practitioners are often harassed, arrested, beaten and even detained

Ho:      Mass media  practitioners are not often harassed, arrested, beaten and detained.

H5:      The Nigerian mass media operate under the social responsibility theory

Ho:      The Nigeria mass media do not operate under the social responsibility theory.


– HARRASSMENT, ARREST, AND DETENTION: This means to trouble, worry and size by authority of power and convict one of offence and keep the person in a place for a short period of time.

–          MILITARY DICTATORSHIP: The armed forced who rule with absolute authority

–          PRAISE SINGING: Praise of administration with enthusiasm

–          SYNDROME: The Nigeria mass media is accused of showering praises on the government

–          FREE FREDOM : This is a concept of the press which indicate relative absence of government interferences on the media of mass communication.

–          SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: This is a theory of mass communication which suggest that the press or  media of mass communication should be responsible or accountable to the society alone and no other person or body. In other words, they are responsible for whatever public they make

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