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Media gate keeping process as a catalyst for promoting good governance in Nigeria

Abstract

This study was on  Media gate keeping process as a catalyst for promoting good governance in Nigeria. The total population for the study is 200 staff of selected media in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made editors, production manager, broadcaster and junior officers were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies

 Chapter one

Introduction

  • Background of the study

Gate keeping, an enduring concept of mass communication has been traditionally used to regulate the news flow in the media and set news agenda for the public. From the gate keeping concept, we understand that not all stories no matter how important make it as news. We understand that news stories undergo a systematic selection process that is biased and driven by a combination of factors -news norms, societal values/pressures and organizational factors. In fact, the gate keeping concept exposes the often complex hierarchal influence and domination of news media by a select few- the gatekeepers. According to Soroka (2012), the basic idea of gate keeping has been cogently stated in Shoemaker’s valuable review of the literature thus: ‘‘Simply put, gate keeping is the process by which the billions of messages that are available in the world get cut down and transformed into the hundreds of messages that reach a given person on a given day’’ (2001, p. 3). Thus, a story’s success is subject to the decisions of its many gatekeepers who operate at different levels in the process. This “hierarchy of influences” explains “how news gets constructed – by individuals – within a social and occupational setting” (Reese, 2001). The concept of Gate keeping therefore exerts enormous influence in the voices heard and the faces seen in the news media. How these processes of selection (and exclusion) of issues take place and are decided on, and what elements influence them, are questions that have been taken up in this study within the context of community media

In modern day governance globally, the issue of Good Governance has assumed the front burner as an indispensable requirement for social, economic and political developments (World Bank, 1989, UNESCO, 2005; Nanda, 2006; Hout, 2007; Gisserlquit, 2012), yet better governance continues to be a source of worry and a big challenge to most countries including Nigeria. Interestingly, Nigeria, government in a bid to ensure good governance in the country had in, the 1999 Nigerian constitution in Section 16 (1) a, b, c, and d, and Section 16 (2) entrenched some of the principles of Good Governance as a possible criteria for governance in the country. Despite these constitutional provisions, as well as the enormous financial resources, and huge potentials of the country, including the social and economic policies that have been implemented by successive administrations good governance continues to be elusive to Nigeria. In another attempt to enthrone Good Governance in the country, recent democratic administrations, organized Good Governance tours, where officials of the federal ministry of information alongside Journalists from various media houses, inspect the progress of work on the projects executed by the different agencies of the federal and the state governments. The objective of the tour is for the media to assess the performance of elected public office holders at both the federal and state level. The Nigerian constitution in section 22 made provision for such an exercise where it stated inter alia; “The press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people”. The Good Governance tour organized by the Nigerian government identified two major issues. First, the Nigerian government’s concern and determination for better governance in the country. This concern possibly stems from the importance attached to the Good Governance concept as highlighted in the United Nations Millennium Declaration, which articulates that the Millennium Development Goals must be achieved through Good Governance within each country and the international level, as well as in this well- cited quote, from Kofi Anan, that, “Good Governance is perhaps the single most important factor in eradicating poverty and promoting development” (UN, 1998). Second, it identifies the symbiotic relationship between the media and Good Governance. The media are a critical link in the accountability chain between the government and the governed, providing information for the citizens to hold those in authority accountable and also articulating citizens’ voices and preference for government to use in policy formulation. Given this assumption, this paper argues that media’s contributions to Good Governance in the society is played out within the ambit of the principles of Good Governance and that media’s potential to contribute to Good Governance depend on the extent the media reflect and enforce these principles as institution and in the discharge of the fundamental roles of the journalists. The paper as well identifies why the media are critical sectors in shaping governance relationships with special reference to the Nigerian media, while highlighting some of the principal opportunities and challenges to engaging with the sector as well as providing a critical discourse of the concept of good governance.

Statement of the problem

Gate keeping therefore exerts enormous influence in the voices heard and the faces seen in the news media. How these processes of selection (and exclusion) of issues take place and are decided on, and what elements influence them, are questions that have been taken up in this study within the context of community media. Good Governance is perhaps the single most important factor in eradicating poverty and promoting development” (UN, 1998). Second, it identifies the symbiotic relationship between the media and Good Governance. The media are a critical link in the accountability chain between the government and the governed, providing information for the citizens to hold those in authority accountable and also articulating citizens’ voices and preference for government to use in policy formulation

Objective of the study

The objectives of the study;

  1. To ascertain the relationship between media gate keeping and good governance in Nigeria
  2. To ascertain if government influence media to promote good governance
  3. To ascertain the important of media gate keeping in government

Research hypotheses

For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

H0: there is no relationship between media gate keeping and good governance in Nigeria.

H1: there is relationship between media gate keeping and good governance in Nigeria.

H02: government do not influence media to promote good governance

 H2: government influence media to promote good governance

Significance of the study

The study will be very significant to students, media, government and the policy makers. The study will also give an insight on the  Media gate keeping process as a catalyst for promoting good governance in Nigeria. The study will also serve as a reference to other researcher that will embark on the related topic

Scope and limitation of the study

The scope of the study covers Media gate keeping process as a catalyst for promoting good governance in Nigeria.

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. a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS

 Media gate keeping: Gatekeeping is a process by which information is filtered to the public by the media. … This news perspective and its complex criteria are used by editors, news directors, and other personnel who select a limited number of news stories for presentation to the public.

Good governance: Good governance means that processes and institutions produce results that meet the needs of society while making the best use of resources at their disposal. The concept of efficiency in the context of good governance also covers the sustainable use of natural resources and the protection of the environment.

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