This paper focused on investigating the impact of broadcast market liberalization and the role of the Nigerian broadcast market regulator – NBC. Five questions, each addressing the period of liberalization, were asked for this investigation. The results are largely mixed with both positive and negative outcomes. The paper concludes that a large number of privately-owned broadcast stations were established during the period compared to the non-existence of such stations prior to liberalization. It also noted that competition resulted from the market entrance of these private stations. Furthermore, it also noted that broadcasting expanded beyond the traditional radio and television to include satellite television, MMDS, and community radio. In addition, there is improvement in the quality of broadcast programs noting the increase in outside-the-studio production. Also, it identifies a more diversified programming and the presence of a variety of choices within each genre of broadcast program. However, the outcome is not so positive in the area of freedom of broadcast journalism practice. Instead, there is a litany of transgressions championed or actively supported by the regulator – NBC. These transgressions have involved partial and complete shutdown of stations. In addition, the investigation reports NBC’s willingness to implement obscure and pro-censorship rules. The cultural impact of a deluge of foreign programs was also reported. Primarily, the paper cites an increase in foreign programs even within government-owned media. The problem is difficult to curtail because of huge disparities in the acquisition costs for local compared to foreign produced programs. Finally, it is clear that government has divested itself from funding of broadcast stations but without relinquishing control of its stations. Government has done this by corporatizing or partially commercializing the stations. This government act actually preceded industry liberalization. In the final analysis, the relationship between government divestiture and liberalization has been tenuous at best.
|Keywords:||Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, Market Liberalization, Regulation, Private Competition, Journalism Freedom, Cultural Impact, Programming Diversity, Government Divestiture, Military Decrees|
Professor, Department of Communications, Bowie State University, Bowie, Maryland, USA
Bowie State University, Bowie, Maryland, USA
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