The Influence of AIT Coverage on Post 2011 Election Sentiments

The Influence of AIT Coverage on Post 2011 Election Sentiments (Among Residents of Kabala Doki, Kaduna)

Generally, mass media have a tremendous impact on almost all parts of our lives. Often, they are established with the intension of disseminating factual, fair, objective and accurate information. Ideally, they are expected to serve the society at large, and not a particular section, religion, class or ethnic group within the society. Therefore, the role played by the media needs to be examined.

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Herbert (1982:12) in Abdurrahman (1995) asked a pertinent question:

If the mass media play such an important role in our lives, are we their victims or their masters, that is, are managed, manipulated, massaged and brain washed by the media, or do the media simply reflect us and our wishes?…

 

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

The mass media is faced with so many information to report to its audience and thus must device means of deciding what gets to them. In the process of disseminating its messages, the media tend to attach much importance to particular issue rather than others.

This study will employ the use of social responsibility theory because its main concern is to assess the African Independent Television in terms of their tendencies towards sentimentalism and other ethnic manifestation in their influence on post 2011 election sentiments.

According to Warner J. & James W. (1998:12) social responsibility theory holds that:

Everyone who has something of significance to say should be allowed a forum and that if the media do not assume their obligation, somebody must see it that they do. Under this theory, the media are controlled by community opinion, consumer action, professional ethics and in the vase of broadcasting, government regulatory agencies because of technical limits on the number of channel frequencies.

Folarin (1998:26) sees social responsibility theory as a theory in which:

The media can be used by anyone who has an idea to express, but they are forbidden to invade private rights or disrupt vital social constraints on them are exercised by community opinion, consumer protests and professional ethics.

By the two definitions, one can understand that the media are free to express and they also serve as the free market of ideas for members of the society to express their opinions but forbidden to invade private rights or disrupt vital social structures or interests.

 

HISTORY OF AFRICA INDEPENDENT TELEVISION

STRUCTURE COMPOSITION

AIT’s management relies on a careful blend of home – grown Nigerian expertise plans a backup of seasoned professionals from Europe, the United States and other parts of Africa. All members of the management team are highly accomplished practitioners in the field of broadcasting with the proven capabilities required in this highly competitive sector.

Senior Management is ably augmented by a dedicated workforce carefully selected from the growing pool of indigenous broadcasting talent.

 

THE BROADCAST COMPANY

DAAR Communications did not start broadcast operation until 1994, six years after incorporation. This was due to legislative initiative in Nigeria’s broadcast sector. It was not until August 24, 1992, about fifty years after the advent of broadcasting in Nigeria that the government promulgated Decree No. 38 which deregulated that ownership of the electronic media in the country.

Following this piece of legislation which ushered in a new era of private ownership of Radio and Television stations, Daar Communications applied for Radio, Television and Direct Broadcasting by satellite license. The license was subsequently granted. It began full commercial broadcast operations in its high profile radio channels with the call sign, Raypower 100.5, the first private independent radio station in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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AUDIENCE

AIT’s audience is a global with general viewership. Their appeal is to a broad cross – session of popular tastes. To those seeking information about Africa, the Caribbean and Afro – American experience, AIT provides the natural programming choice.

COVERAGE

AIT’s beams quality programs round the clock which are down liked redistributed in Africa, the whole of Americas, Mexico and the Caribbean.

AIT’s coverage aims to keep global views fully in tune with the soul of an African broadcaster.

AIT

December 6, 1996 herald the coming of AIT in global satellite broadcasting, African Independent Television channel 21.

AIT provide a fresh slant of TV broadcasting with a particular programming theme that shares the African experience with the wider global community.

 

REVIEW OF THE RELATED LITERATURE ON THE INFLUENCE OF AIT’S COVERAGE ON POST 2011 ELECTION SENTIMENT

Given apparent power of the media in the society, the media can choose to contribute positively or negatively to the development of its society. For this,  media use power towards a positive development on society, else when used negatively, it can lead to the disintegration of society. Unfortunately the media has often been criticized by the public misusing its power.

Siebert (1973) in Abdurrahman (1995:17) has this to say:

Wielding is enormous owners for its own ends the owners have propagated their own opinions, especially in matters of politics and economics at the expense of opposing views of politics and economics at the expense of opposing views and the media has often paid more attention to the superficial and sensational than the significant…

In a society, like Nigeria where the level of literacy still leaves much to desired, audience of mass media are likely to be gullible in accepting as all the mass media bring to them. In the word of Hebert (1982) in Abdurrahman (1995:15) disclosed this:

The power of media has intimidated human being for hundreds of years… individuals who apt to become disillusioned and suspicious when they discover what they view is not 100% true they may be victims of the prophets of doom. They may settle into a deep seated suspicion that they are being manipulated by those distant puppeteers behind the scenes.

In a nutshell, other people are criticizing the performance of the Nigerian media. Many a public figure has at one time or the other cause to comment negatively about lapses in the ethics or professional conducts of the media. For instance Akintonde in Abdulrahman (1995:19) observed that:

The performance of the Nigerian mass media has always been of interest to all Nigerians… in view of the unique role that the media should play in nation building… it is obvious that a period of national crisis is a period of unusual circumstances in a nation’s history. In such periods, it is important that the operation of the media should be carried out with great caution and a high sense of responsibility.

While it may be argued that no code can make a journalist a person of good conscience, except he chose to be guided by his own conscience, an individual journalist’s choice in particular situation determines his commitment to his profession and the desire to abide by the ethics of the trade. With media, one can build a strong, purposeful, conscious and useful society. Conversely, the media can also destroy even the strongest and greatest nation.

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Another important thing is how nowadays audience are influencing the content of the media. This is of course every media tends to meet its demands; this is because audience less patronage means less money in the organizations offers. In most cases, audience expose themselves to the media that gratify them, and the more they obtain the gratification sought, the more they patronize that media and vise versa.

The media is not to loose their audience which may tend to a negative results in their income generation to meet the audience gratification sought, they adopts its reports to lets-give-them-what-they-want. In view of this, the audience indirectly influences the media content, that is why if for instance a media realize that reporting one or another ethnic group unobjectively gratifies most of their prospective audience, that media will continue to do such so as to gratify their audience.

Therefore, it is obvious that the manifestation of sentiment and ethnicity in Nigerian broadcast media has completely changed the Nigerian politics to a decisive politics. People are mobilized with ethnic, sentiments and religious identities, which has more negative effects than the positive ones. On the effect of this type of mobilization, Jega (2001:117) has to say:

This type of mobilization, which became prominent under the Babangida and Abacha regimes, has brought negative forms of ethnicity to the extent that virtually everything come to be in terms of an “US” versus “THEM” syndrome. Matters of the governance such as public employment and resource allocation became excessively ethnicied, at the same time that populace increasingly conscious of religious polarization. Both annulment of the June 12, Presidential elections by the Babangida regimes, and the self succession effort of the Abacha regime intensified ethnic, regional and religious mobilization of identities to the extent that, together with corruption in public office, these have become the most dominant negative features of Nigerian politics.

Moreover, the annulment of June 12, election by General Ibrahim Babangida further polarized the society into ethnic and sentimental enclaves which were aptly encouraged and exacerbated on the pages of newspaper and magazines.

Babawale (2003:17) has this to say:

Babandiga’s decision to annul the result of the Presidential election held on June 12, 1993 to democratically elect a successor to him brought once more to the fore strong ethno – regional sentiments and took Nigeria literally back to the pre – civil war years of 1960s… Babangida’s successor Gen. Abacha, heightened ethno – regional tension in his bid to perpetuate himself in office, using the forces of state terrorism against the Yoruba and other oppositional groups, in the process igniting forces that led to the formation of Yoruba self – help security group christened Oodua People Congress (OPC)…

The attempt to introduce ethnic and sectionalist politics in Nigeria stated since 1945, when Chief Obafemi Awolowo along with Dr. Oni Akelere and others established the Egba Omo Oduduwa in 1945 in London. That is why Abba (2003:17) say that ‘Chief Awolowo’s failure to achieve his life long ambition of leading Nigeria has to do more with his association with ethnics and sentimental politics rather than anything else”.

Obviously, it is the fate of Chief Awolowo, seems to face General Obasanjo, but in a reverse order, from building his political fortune on a nationalist platform. Abba (2005:17) pointed that:

Obasanjo has revsersed himself getting his politics trapped in a tribal out-de-sal with the virtual endorsement of his presidential ticket by the parochial Yoruba tribal organization, the Afenefere and its political arm, the Alliance for Democracy (A.D) he is moving to complete the fall circle from being a nationalist candidate to becoming basically a tribal candidate be objective as well as accurate and balanced. Objectivity as well as we all know is not easy to attain, but it is easy to attempt.

He went further:

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… the media practitioners should have in their hearts the interests of a section of the country. What we need in a crisis is the presentation of the bare facts, balanced reporting and not editorialized stories. We need stories that the north or the south. But stories that address issues that concern all.

In conclusion, all we are after is for our media men to always try to or attempt to attain accuracy, balance and objectivity in their reports. It is assumed that if the media men will be sincere and honest in their reports always put national interest ahead of ethnic and codes of  conduct by media practice, the Nigerian media could be free of sentimentalism, ethnic and misrepresentations, and of course could be match with any media boasting objectivity, balance, fairness and factuality the world over.

Adamu (1994:17) has this to say as the overall solution:

… A true democratic restructuring of our national life, in such a way as to involve, directly the majority of our citizens in the process of governing their lives. Ones the majority of the citizens identify themselves with decisions taken by national institutions, the likelihood of their being manipulated by self – serving ‘Moguls’ of the media will be seriously reduced. However, involving the majority of the citizens will also require that the disabilities which make them gullible to self – serving media organs are removed. This means the provision of functional education, jobs, good facilities, water and housing.

He went further:

in the end, managers and workers of the news media must to realize, either through persuasion or through the establishment of regulatory organs that as the saying goes “those who live in thatched houses must avoid starting bush fires.”

In an attempt to analyze the range of influence of Africa Independent Television coverage on post 2011 election sentiments among residents, this research work will look at the recent completed presidential election in April 2011, the way the media (AIT) cover the elections especially the two aspirants are from North and South – South (Niger Delta) and AIT is owned by the people of the Niger Delta, as we all know that Mr. Raymond Dokpesi, the owner of AIT is the Chairman of the South – South forum.

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