1.1 BACKGROUD OF THE STUDY
There is the belief in some quarters that Journalism in Nigeria 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 adherents 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” fugitive 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 and 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 Journalism 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 Journalism to the change of government was significant especially when a mouth piece of the people, Journalism has followed with bewilderment, the defunct Shonekan led Nigeria as it deteriorated.
This is to say that journalism in Nigeria, 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 Journalism 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 throughout 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.
Journalism profession in Nigeria encounters a catalogue of problems especially under the military regime. There has been no smooth romance between the journalists and the government in power, rather what was seen then was harassment, detention without trial, of the journalist involved. These hazards/dangers that face the profession were caused by the incessant enactment of repressive press laws by the government.
The masses depend on the journalists for information on what is happening in their immediate environment, therefore, the journalists is the link between the rulers and ruled. So any negative treatment on the journalists affects not only the people in the profession, but also the attitude and behaviour of the Nigerian populace in general.
Therefore, the hazardous nature of journalism profession under the military era should be looked into so as to discourage the populace not to admit anything like military rule again in the Nigerian society. It was said that the worst administration in a democratic dispensation is far much better than the best administration under military regime.
Nat withstanding the fact that certain legal/professional techniques were employed to check and curtail the excesses of journalists, the military, when in power, were known for chaining the journalists with draconian laws, obnoxious decrees, sack threats, elimination and constant proscription of media houses. Journalists may see and hear evil and such will be sealed to make sure that they don’t loose their lives or jobs.
News watch magazines which was the toast of Nigerians because of fearlessness, independent views and radical approaches to issues was put to stop when its editor-in-chief was exterminated through a letter bomb blast, followed up six months later by a proscription.
When the provision for freedom of expression is guaranteed, some stings are being attached to it, which made the journalist not to be free. In some government media houses, the noble profession is forced to dance to the tune of their ‘lords’. While trying to tell unto the ethics of their profession, they are meant to endanger their lives.
A time, it became a sort of worry on how the journalists are being intimidated and the clever manner, which the government officials take in denying their own statement in the face of naked truth. At first, the government in power tries to embrace the profession just to get it established and thereafter turns against it. Because the journalists are ready to face their unravel their injustices, they (the military) turns to scrutinize and cripple Journalism unnecessarily with accumulation of obnoxious laws.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Since her political independence in 1960, Nigeria has been ruled more by military regimes than by elected civilian administrations: The various military governments which ruled the country at differe11t times are expected to have some patterns of relationship with Journalism, which is a major institutional actor in governance. Of a major concern to this study is the exploration of the nature of the relationship between the Nigerian military governments and the Nigerian press. The relationship between the government and Journalism (at any point in time in society) is usually a reflection of the relationship between the government and the citizens. Since her political independence in 1960, Nigeria has been ruled more by military regimes than by elected civilian administrations: The various military governments which ruled the country at differe11t times are expected to have some patterns of relationship with Journalism, which is a major institutional actor in governance. Of a major concern to this study is the exploration of the nature of the relationship between the Nigerian military governments and the Nigerian press. The relationship between the government and Journalism (at any point in time in society) is usually a reflection of the relationship between the government and the citizens.
1.3. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine the impact of military on the practice of journalism in Nigeria. other general objectives of the study include;
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5. RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: Military rule did not affect the practice of journalism in Nigeria.
H1: Military rule negatively affected the practice of journalism in Nigeria.
1.6. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
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.
1.7. SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study is restricted to the impact of military rule on the practice of journalism in Nigeria
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8. DEFINITION OF TERMS: CONCEPTUAL AND OPERATIONAL
HARRASSMENT, ARREST, and 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 Journalism which indicates relative absence of government interferences on the media of mass communication.
SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: This is a theory of mass communication which suggest that Journalism 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
OTHER SIMILAR MASS COMMUNICATION PROJECTS AND MATERIALS