PUBLIC PERCEPTION OF THE ROLE OF RADIO IN CURBING CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA SOCIETY
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Qualitative, independent media reporting on corruption can play an important role in pressuring the government to act in the public interest. By drawing the attention to behaviour that is generally perceived as acceptable and exposing such behaviour as corrupt media can raise public awareness, activate anti-corruption values and generate outside pressure from the public against corruption (Rose Ackerman, 1999).
The impact of media reporting on corruption can be “tangible” and “intangible” (Stapenburst, 2000). It is tangible when some sort of visible outcome can be attributed to a particular news story or series of stories for instance, the launching of investigation by authorities, the scrapping of a law or policy promoting opportunities for corruption, the impeachment or forced resignation of a crooked politician, the firing of an official, the launching of judicial proceedings, the issuing of public recommendations by a watchdog body and so on. It is intangible when checks on corruption arise. From the broader social climate of enhance political pluralism, enlivened public debate and a heightened sense of accountability among politicians, public bodies and institutions that are inevitable by the product of a hard hitting, independent news media.
How well media can perform the role of watchdog on corruption, however, depends on a number of factors defined by the politicians, economic and legal environment in which media operates. Media freedom of expression access to information ownership competition, credibility and outreach are some of the key factors that have been identified as effecting the quality and effectiveness of media performance on corruption (Vogi, 1999, Djankov, 2000 Stapenburst, 2000, Ahrend, 2002, Brunetti and Weder, 2003, Suphachalasai, 2005).
This paper will review how these factors can affect the role and performance of media in curbing corruption and relate that discussion to Uganda during president musevenis no “party” rule between 1986 and 2006. The paper will examine how the political and institutional changes that occurred during those years have redefined the boundaries of media’s performance, how and to what extent media were able to exercise a role as a watchdog on corruption within those boundaries and what are the prospects for a more institutionalized role of media in that regard in the future.
The paper will first discuss the type of impact that media can have on corruption and the factors affecting that performance. It will then focus on three main periods under Museveni’s “no party” system during which important political and institutional changes took place that affected the role and performance of media in (significant ways 1).
The transition and consolidation of the new regime and the establishment of “no party” or “movement” system (1986 – 1995) the entering into effect of the new constitution and the first presidential and parliamentary elections (1996 2001 and 3). The transition to a multi-party system (2001 – 2006) media can play an important public accountability role by monitoring and investigating the actions of those who are granted public trust and who may be tempted to abuse their office for private gain (Eigen, 1999). In the media’s role in curbing corruption Rick Stapenhurst provides a useful list of tangible and intangible affects that aggressive and independent journalism can have on corruption (Stapenhurst, 2000). This list provides a useful tool to assess the role and effectiveness of media as an instrument of public accountability in Uganda, which will be used throughout this paper.
Tangible effects are those that can be readily attributed to a particular news story or series of news stories for example, the launching of investigations by the parliament or other authorities into allegations of corruption the censure, impeachment or forced resignation of corrupt politicians, the firing of public officers, the launching of judicial proceedings, the issuing of public recommendations by a watchdog body. The scrapping of a law or policy that creates an environment conducive or even contributing to corruption.
Media coverage of corruption might also contribute to shape public hostility towards corrupt behaviour that might result in the electoral defeat of individual politicians or of an entire government and laws that otherwise create the conditions for corrupt behaviour. News stories assessing the work and exposing flaws, weakness and even corruption in accountability institutions, such as courts, police and anti-corruption agencies might lead to public pressure to reform these institutions.
The products of all these actions might be to increase the cost of corrupt behaviour among public accountability to enhance the legitimacy of watchdog bodies and their independence from vested interest within the power structure that might otherwise interfere with their work and to encourage witness of corruption to come forward. Media aggressive reporting on corruption on corruption might also prompt pre-emptive responses by authorities eager to protect their reputation and the public image of their institution before any allegation is aired. More intangible and indirect effect of media reporting on corruption have to be seen in the context of the broader role that media plays in society particularly in context of weak political competition as in the case of Uganda and of many other Africa countries these contexts aggressive and independent journalism act as an indirect check on the sort of corruption that would otherwise flourish in the absence of political competition.
By simply informing the public and presenting a variety of points of view media can promote public debate and enhance political and economic competition. Such competition might enhance accountability open up alternatives to dealing with corrupt networks and creat incentives for political leaders to move against corruption. It might also encourage public participation and inform the debate by taking the lead in pressing to enhance civil liberties such as freedom of expression. By disseminating knowledge about public decisions and procedures beyond a small elite group of decision makers, media can also play a major role in undermining a precondition to corruption which is the “shared knowledge” among a restricted circle of beneficiaries of corruption. How effectively media work and report on corruption depends on a number of critical factors such as freedom of media professionals to access, verify and publish accurate information and their ability to access independent source of financing. Competition, outreach and credibility of media are other important factors affecting media performance factors affecting media performance which will be examined below.
The widespread popularity and profitability of radio in Uganda ensure that once the political restrictions were lifted in 1997, private FM radio stations proliferate rapidly from 6 licensed private radio stations at the end of 1997 to 68 in 2003, to 100 in 2004 and to 118 in 2005.
Radio is the primary soured of information and entertainment in the country. Although no station has national coverage, radio has been able to broadcast from the most remote areas of the country and in all languages. In the strifectorun north for example, mega fin supported by the UK department for international development has become trusted for information about the war, peace talks and the whereabouts of missing relatives (financial time, 2007).
Local radio in Uganda have effectively carried out government promoted campaigns, such as the campaign against poverty and HIV/AIDS popular call-in talk shows have increased access to other sources of information such as newspapers, television and internet and to other views in the country by giving voice to a majority of Ugandas.
The quality of information on air, however, continues to be poor. Call-in talk shows encourage public participation but do not provide indepth analysis of facts. The reliance on news taken from newspapers and other sources facilitates their misinterpretation and manipulation reluctant to invest in quality news programmes. Radio owners are which are generally more costly and with low returns on financing. Moreover, most radio stations are owned by churches, local businessmen and politicians, who have little incentives to invest in investigative journalism (Obbo, 1996 Mwesgye, 2004).
It is necessary to glorify the minds that ventures to the establishment of radio arena. Radio as a watchdog and the mirror of the nation, perform crucial role in the society. Radio educate, entertain, analyze, interpret, create awareness, create avenue to failure and to success. Radio as well monitors, evaluate and correct all wrong activities concerning human existence. It executes and recommends, encodes and decodes and ensure feedback, etc.
Radio is “metaphoric” when we termed it to be a watchdog of the nation see and recognize itself. It is role of radio that place it to that position in that somebody cannot just get up and started raising or criticizing a nation or society without having in mind any channel of dissemination of his formation whether good or bad information all convey sense to the target audience. It is therefore at this juncture that journalist uses radio aid to bring to the nation what their society is like and how their government is like and how good or bad the personalities involved are like then it is through this means that they will know what they are and how their activities moves, whether it encourages the audience or discourages them.
It was through this mirror radio “the news that expose the forgery certificate of Alhaji Salisu Buhari which he did at the University of Toronto Canada. This made president Obasanjo after taken over the government to launch crusade that will redress what he saw in the mirror. This made Alhaji Salisu Buhari to be brought down from his position of speak house of representatives.
The radio educates the ignorant, it teaches them from known to unknown in that it was when radio publishes or airs what people know that they will analyze it to these who does not know. It was through radio that people get to know what brough about the removal of Evans Ewerem from the position of senate president because of his falsification of age. The Nigerian radio therefore expose them, the evil operators from the success to failure through monitoring of their movement and activities and evaluating and correcting their wrongs by disseminating it on air and preparing the audience to feedback and recommending to the government the punishment that they deserve for the issue of awareness to be accomplished.
Therefore, this study is an attempt to discover how radio as an instrument for curbing corruption of Obasanjo anti-corruption crusade. A case study of FRCN. Since assuming office in May 1999, president Olusegun Obasanjo has never hidden his intention to fight corruption which has permeated the social fabric of Nigeria from the top to bottom.
In order to realize that goals he set up the independent corrupt practices and other related offence commission, otherwise known as the ICPC headed by Justice Mustapha Akanbi, a retired Judge of the court of appeal.
But since then, the commission had remained a came duck and toothless bulldog until recently. In what observers see as a departure from the past and a review vigour in the antigraft campaign, the ICPC in early December initiated the arrest of prominent politicians and former government officials. In one fell swoop a serving minister was fired over allegation of corrupt practices. Not only was former minister of labour and productivity, Alhaji Hassani Akwanaga sacked he was late arrested by security agencies for involvement in 214m scan in the jinx National Identity Card Scheme being handled by the minister of Internal Affairs. He was the permanent secretary of that ministry before retiring adhering appointed a minister.
The ICPC is currently prosecuting about sixty two persons for various offences these of the commissions and company executive. The commission is said to have received our 942 petitions since inception out of which about 400 still being investigated.
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
Problems are imminent in every aspect of human endavour. As scholars researchers, students, we know that the Nigerian nation is bed veiled with so much corruption which has hitherto been a constraint to national development. A category of corruption is synonymous with militaries, politicians, the youths, the aged and these are the component that make up the federation. A sample of corruption which this work tends to address is crime, drug abuse, juvenile delinquency, cultism, bribery and disobedience.
Therefore in a situation like this, the radio as a powerful instrument for curing corruption is at work but suffers in that there is no freedom of radio activities. Yet that does not stop the radio from motivation and action though some personnel lost their lives in the process, a good example is late Dele Giwa founder of news watch, who was assassinated.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
As one may ask what is the intention on the objective of this research work. The research intends at the end of this work to provide a lasting solution to the problem of corruption in Nigeria. It also intends to assess the public perception of the role of radio in curbing corruption. It also tends to form a framework or basis for further researchers as far as corruption is concerned in Nigeria.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The research work will go a long way towards using the radio to address the issue of corrupt practices in Nigeria and radio as a powerful instrument to achieve the position objective.
This is the dream that has almost come true in that no nation without radio that will stand and human beings who are being governed will not have their happiness without having full possession of their freedom. That is why it has been nice researching on this topic which brought about knowing the opinion of the federal republic of Nigerian government which stated that he was committed to the rule of law hence he promise to ride the country of corruption and has infact set example by first of all probing and indicating some military estate administration for corrupt practices and probes on all governmental departments.
We must not fail to welcome the constitutional democracy, be it as benevolent, as it maybe a military regime still falls short of the mark. It is a government that owe’s it origin and authority to sheer force and not to the people. We would like to have a government that will owe its origin and authority to the people and can have an air of change in mind when he did not account to his people fine likewise was promised by president Olusegun Obasanjo on the day of his launching on 9th September1999 at Bayelsa state in Yenegoa, he promised to be co-operative with the staff and to work towards the upliftment of the standard of living of the people, maintenance of open door policy and accountability of the people he governed and avoidance of false manifestoes. With these corruption will be reduced and radio will perform its role effectively without hindrance.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Bearing in mind the set objective of this research work, the following questions have been designed to facilitate data gathering. It is my conviction that the response to be gotten from those questions will go a long way in assisting me to proffer solution to the problems that necessitate this research. They will also help in assessing the public perception of the role of radio in curbing corruption.
The questions are:
1. In which way has public perception help in curbing corruption in Nigeria?
2. Do you think that radio has aided as an instrument in curbing of corruption in Nigerian society?
3. How do you feel that corruption will even end in the life of Nigeria?
4. Do you consider the step taken by president Obasanjo towards the crusade against corruption in Nigeria?
5. What has the press done about this?
1.6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
The following hypothesis formulated based on the objective of the study.
H0: The public do not have good perception on the role of radio in curbing corruption.
HI: The public have good perception on the role of radio in curbing corruption.
H0: Power supply does not affect the impact of radio programme in curbing corruption.
HI: Power supply affected the impact of radio programme in curbing corruption.
H0: Corruption have not ended the live of some Nigerians.
HI: Corruption have ended the live of some Nigerians.
H0: Government do not influence radio programme in curbing corruption in our society.
H0: Government influence radio programme in curbing corruption in our society.
1.7 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
The nature of this work permits that a brand theory would be used to form its theoretical framework. In line with this, the researcher will anchor this study on the “agenda setting theory”.
This theory was first propagated in 1992 by a man called Walter Lippman. According to Ndole (2006:32) Lippman state that “the media help pet picture in our heads”.
After this statement, two United States of American researcher – Mccombs and show in 1972, 1978 wrote that:
Audience not only learn about public issues and other matters through the media, they also learn how much important to attach to an issue or topic from the emphasis the mass media place upon it.
This further highlight on the idea treats if the radio play the role of curbing corruption Nigeria.
The role of the media is critical in promoting good governance and controlling corruption. It not only raises public awareness about corruption, its causes, consequences and possible remedies but also investigated and reports incidents of corruption. This is in line with Griffin (1991:332) assertion that “the mass media have the ability to transfer the salary of items on their news agenda to the public agenda.
This is why the researcher anchored this study on the agenda setting theory.
1.8 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study will focus attention only on the public perception of the role of radio in curbing corruption in Nigeria and the entire radio stations, also the public in Enugu metropolis were study as for the topic covered.1.10 DEFINITION OF TERMS
For clarity of purpose, it is very important to define conceptually and operationally the terms that formed the topic of this research work. Public perception of the role of radio in curbing corruption in Nigeria society.
Public: This is a group of people who share a particular interest or who are involved in the same activity.
Perception: This is the view expressed by someone on something, particularly how he or she sees and understands that thing.
Role: This means part, duty or function to be accomplished by a person or thing in an undertaking.
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