1.1Privatization and commercialization of electronic media in Nigeria (A case study of Minaj system T.V.)
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Broadcasting in Nigeria, entered a new era with the decision of the federal government is allow private ownership of radio and television stations after more than 50 years of its advent in Nigeria.
Privatization is the process which government either partly or wholly transfers equity investment of ownership in a business enterprise to private investors.
Commercialization, on the other hand is defined as the reorganization of enterprises such that they could operate enterprises wholly or partially owned by the federal government without relying on government subvention.
It could be recalled that since the advent of radio and television in 1932 and 1959 respectively, government had hitherto reserved its ownership to either state or federal government.
Radio broadcasting started in 1932, when re-diffusion services began in Nigeria. This re-diffusion started in Lagos with the distribution of programmes, which originated from the British Broadcasting co-operation (BBC) in London. This was part of the overseas services of the BBC. From the Lagos studio, the programmes were distributed to various listening boxes when subscribers who had paid a small subscription fee for this purpose received them.
Because of the popularity of this system, it was eventually expanded to include stations outside Lagos, Abeokuta, Calabar, Enugu, Ibadan, Ijebu-ode, Jos, Kaduna, Kano, Port Horcourt and Zaria. When in 1951 and 1952 the Nigerian Broad casting service (NBS) was established by the federal government and the major re-diffusion stations were converted into fully operational stations, radio had finally arrived in Nigeria.
Unlike radio which began in Nigeria through federal government initiative, television broadcasting began in the country through regional initiative. This was in October 1959 when the government of the former Western Region started the first television service in both Nigeria and Africa- the Western Nigerian television (WNTV). The following year, on 1st October 1960, the former Eastern Region followed the example of the West by establishing the Eastern Nigeria Television (ENTV) in Enugu.
The federal government got round to establishing its own television service when it started the Nigeria television service (NTS) in partnership with the NBC- International of America, in April 1962 in Lagos. In the same year, the government of the former Northern region also started its own television service called Radio Television Kaduna (RTV). The regional government and a British television company jointly owned this.
The federal government television which was under a management agreement with an American company, continued and was confined to the federal capital, and soon came under the Nigerian Broadcasting co-operation, (NBC) when the management contract with the American was determined.
The advent of television brought in its wake a new dimension to broadcasting in Nigeria. The creation of states in Nigeria meant that the new state administrations could set-up television networks in their states.
The former government of the mid-Western state in 1973 went ahead by establishing the Mid-Western Television (MTV) now NTA Benin, Benue plateau television (BPTV) followed in 1974.
In 1975, the federal military government announced its intention to take over all television stations in the country. It then set-up machinery within the federal ministry of information to give effect to this plans.
At this time, ten stations-Ibadan, Enugu, Kaduna, Lagos, Benin, Jos, Port-Harcourt, Kano, Sokoto and Owerri (Aba) in that order, had been set-up.
The Nigerian television authority was finally inaugurated in May, 1977. Although Decree 24 or 1077, which established it, was promulgated in March 1077 but took effort from April 1976. By that Decree, the NTA became the only body empowered to undertake television broadcasting in the country. Indeed, the federal government had began to fund all the stations from April 1, 1976, when networking of news also commenced on Nigerian Television, vea domestic satellite (Domstat). By December 1978, there were scheduled broadcast from every state capital in the country.
Between 1959 and June, 1992 broadcasting organizations had been part and parcel of public service. The industry was subjected to high degree of control and interference by the government and was used as public service instrument designed to propagate government activities- the broadcasting stations were, therefore, committed to giving air time to government agencies which have no commercial value.
This monopoly of government ownership of the electronic media was sustained due to the following assumptions. Among them was the argument put forward by a one-time information minister, prince Tony Momsh, that privatization and commercialization is likely to affect the unity of the nation as well as our national security.
Again Chief Alex Akinyele, also a one-time information minister said that since Nigerians were not starved of information by reason of the non-existence of such private electronic media, it could not be said to constitute a priority for the common man. He feels rather very strongly that “private television/radio is patently dangerous” and that it is a costly diversion.
Furthermore, there has also been the supposition that Nigeria is not ripe enough to own private electronic media.
But the advantages of a privatized media outweigh that of government ownership. This ranges from broadcasting service characterized by high degree of aggressiveness, pragmaticism, expansionism and technical competence to placing top priority on the generation of more revenue maximization of profit and be in a comfortable position to execute its programmes.
COMMISSION’S BROAD OBJECTIVES
Preamble: Broadcasting is a medium of communication through which the individual share in the world around and beyond his immediate environment. By means pf broadcasting every Nigerians should partake in ideas, ideals and experience that will enrich his life and help him live in complex and dynamic, yet humane society.
Broadcasting in Nigeria should be made to influence societal value positively and in so doing improve and strengthen the social, cultural, economic, political and technological fabric of the nation. The major responsibility of broadcasting to inform, educate and entertain shall not be at the expense of national interest unity and cohesion of Nigeria’s diverse social, economic, political and religious configuration. No broadcasting shall encourage, or include crime, or lead to disorder or to be offensive to public feelings or contain an offensive reference to any person, alive or dead or generally, be disrespectful to human dignity.
The objectives of broadcasting in Nigeria social objective: Educate people irrespective of their educational background.
In conclusion, we want to use Minaj system television Obosi (a privatized media) as our case study to X-ray the viability, prospects, problems and sustainability of this unique endeavor.