MASS MEDIA: A SETBACK TO NIGERIAN DEVELOPMENT


By Igbadoo Aondongu

Nigeria as a developing country practices democracy which has executive, legislative and judiciary as organs of government. The fourth estate of the realm is next to the judiciary and this comprises the broadcast, print and online media organizations.

These media have a lot responsibilities ranging from surveillance function (watchdog of the society), agenda setting, preservation of culture, informing and educating among many others. If these responsibilities are effectively carried out by the media, it will help develop the country. As a watch dog of the society, the media is duty bound to oversee the functions of the three organs of government and the society at large. This is done by pointing out the rights and wrongs in the society and thereby exposing the perpetrators of the wrong deeds. The media also determine what the masses think and talk of. If the media is setting the right agendas, the society will be filled with right thoughts and that will help develop the nation. One who thinks rightly, acts rightly, giving out the right information to the people and educating them on the right things to do will go a long way imbibing good habits in the development of the country.

Why is the mass media failing? The mass media has failed and continues to fail in carrying out its duties in various ways. Thomas Thompson, the USA former president said he preferred the mass media to the government, this is an indication on how significant and powerful the mass media is in the development of every society and nation. Information is power therefore, the persons who control information are determinants of the success of their society. The emergence of new concepts like news commercialized, censorship, citizen journalism and program sponsorship among others are hindrances to the effective performance of the mass media in Nigeria. Unprofessionalism is the order of the day in media houses. People without the knowledge of journalism practice it and to an extent own media organizations unlike the legal profession where only professionals practice it.

The dictum, the man who plays the piper detects the tone has come to stay. News commercialization is the trend in media houses, the determinant of news is the ability for one to pay. Only those who can afford to pay money to media organizations are brought on news. This is a country where criminals are celebrated by the mass media. They come with their false stories to cover up their wrong deeds on the media. The evolvement of the internet has benefits to the mass media but yet is a threat. Citizen journalism is where people without journalism knowledge turn journalist on the internet. This has a lot of negative effects to the society. Another impeding factor to effective performance of the media is censorship. Media contents are controlled by those in the herms of affairs and these are the same people the media is supposed to monitor. The national broadcasting corporation which is supposed to be an independent body is controlled by the bourgeoisies. How can the media effectively function in such scenarios.

No sector can facilitate the development of a country like the mass media. If our media can wake up to their responsibilities, our country will be better than what we have now. The practice of journalism should be left in the hands of professionals as well as ownership of media organizations as it is done in legal profession. This will help immensely to eliminating the Unprofessionalism in journalism. Media censorship should be discouraged in all ramifications to curve the menace of unprofessionalism in the practice of journalism. More so, the national broadcasting corporation should be allowed to exercise their independency devoid of external interference. If, the mass media would wake up to their responsibilities, Nigeria will be great. so let's all support the mass media for a developed nation.

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