Nigeria’s Broadcast Commission and Regulatory Challenges: Questions Asked and Answers Provided

By Chuka Onwumechili and Donatus Anaelechi Uzomah.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

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

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp.109-118. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 564.102KB).

Dr. Chuka Onwumechili

Professor, Department of Communications, Bowie State University, Bowie, Maryland, USA

Dr. Onwumechili has researched and published in his field over a long span of time. His published books include Reform, Organizational Players, and Technological Developments in African Telecommunications: An Update (2003); Press and Politics in Africa (2000), African Democratization and Military Coups (1998), and Communication and the Transformation of Society: A Developing Region's Perspective (1995). His works have also appeared in the following academic journals: Info/The Journal of Policy, Regulation, and Strategy for Telecommunications, Information, and Media; International Journal for Intercultural Relations (IJIR); Telecommunications Policy; Howard Journal of Communications; Africa Media Review; and Communication Research Reports. Dr. Onwumechili has also presented numerous papers at several professional conferences including those organized by the International Communication Association (ICA), Eastern Communication Association (ECA), National Communication Association (NCA), African Council for Communication Education (ACCE), African Studies Association (ASA), the Intercultural Communication Conference (ICC), Third World Studies Conference, Society for Intercultural Education, Training, and Research (SIETAR), among several others.

Dr. Donatus Anaelechi Uzomah

Bowie State University, Bowie, Maryland, USA

Donatus Anaelechi Uzomah, Ph.D, is a Professor of Communications at Bowie State University where he coordinates the Organizational Communications Graduate Program. His research interest is in Communication and Development, which has resulted in several articles and presentations at regional, national, and international conventions and conferences.

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