The aim of this study was to investigate the implication of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) code on African Independent Television Lagos. Five research questions were formulated for the purpose of this study. Other questions 20 in number came as questionnaires to the staff of AIT Lagos to determine the implication of national broadcasting commission on their organization. The research method adopted for this work is survey because of its convenience, reliability and cheapness. Questionnaires were administered to the 118 staff of AIT Lagos. Also, the entire population was studied as the sample size since the population is small and could be handled by the researcher. Findings from the field show that the code of NBC does affect the operation of the organization. And also, the 2006 NBC ban on the organization affected the organization restructuring, retrenchment of few staff and reduction of image. Recommendations have been made on how NBC should make its code appropriate in order for the broadcast media to abide to such regulations.
1.1 Background of study
Radio and television are essential organs for national development and should therefore be used for the promotion of Nigerian’s cultural, economic and political development. As the media utilizes the airwaves, which belong to the public, the broadcasting media should be used to improve and promote unity and security of the people of the nations. There is need for a body that will regulate their operations. While this body is expected to have controlling powers over the broadcasting media; it shall at least provide operational code that will prevent the abuse of the media.
On 24th AWugust, 1992, the then military president, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, signed into law, Decree No 38 which allows private participation in broadcasting. This was done through the establishment of the National Broadcasting Commission. Decree No 38 authorized the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to issue license and regulate broadcasting in Nigeria. This is why every transmission of sound and vision either by cable, television, radio, satellite or any medium of broadcasting from anywhere in the country is subjected to its authority.
However, the broadcasting media like the other media of mass communication must be geared towards national unity. Without a national policy that provides clear guidelines for other operations the broadcast media may not play their proper role in the growth and development of the nation?
This is why there is need for a body like NBC which is the sole chartered organization with power to regulate broadcasting in all its activities.
NBC was, among other things, empowered and designed to carry out these functions:
Setting up standard on acceptable content and quality of broadcast content in Nigeria.
Seizing transmission equipment or withdrawing licenses where necessary, should any broadcast media breach the NBC code.
Upholding the principle of equity and fairness on broadcasting.
Section 3.1.1 of the Federal Commissions Act authorized the National Broadcasting Commission to withhold the licenses of stations indicated for violating the NBC code.
COMING OF TELEVISION BROADCASTING IN NIGERIA
Television came to Nigeria for the first time (though experimentally) in 1956, when Queen Elizabeth 11 came to Nigeria in that year, the BBC came with a large contingent. The BBC placed TV screens outside the assembly hall to enable those outside the gallery of the house to watch what was happening.
Nigeria takes credit as the pacesetter in regard to television broadcasting. That notwithstanding, television broadcasting started in Nigeria as a result of intense political and ethnic rivalry. Precisely, the first television in Nigeria was the Western Nigeria Television (WNTV), Ibadan. It is thus readily clear that the colonial masters did not make much use of television during the period of colonialism in Nigeria.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo established the WNTV. He had earlier sought permission for access to the government owned NBS so that he would reply to the allegation of act of perfidy levelled against him by the colonial masters.
Therefore, the actual grievance that eventually gave rise to regional broadcasting dates back to 1953 constitutional crisis which brought Chief Awolowo , leader of the Action Group, into a head-on clash with the then Governor of Nigeria, Sir John Macpherson.
Chief Awolowo was said to have made uncomplimentary statements in the legislature during parliamentary debate on Nigeria’s independence. As a result, the Governor made a broadcast to the nation and made allusions to Chief Awolowo and his party, charging them with perfidy. Awolowo’s reaction was a request for ‘’equal time’’ from the NBS to reply the Governor’s remarks. The request was turned down. The refusal ignited desires in Awolowo to establish a broadcast station, a move critic described as bogus and wasteful. Awolowo then took the bold step, under the aegis of the Western Nigeria government. In May 1959, the government in partnership with the Overseas Rediffusion Company Limited started the Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service.
The Western Nigeria venture sparked off a desire for radio television establishment in the regions.
Eastern Nigeria established its own station called the Eastern Nigeria Television (ENTV), in 1960, and so did Northern Nigeria in 1962 with the establishment of radio and television in Kaduna.
On October 1 1960, Nigeria’s Independence Day, both radio and television stations went on air in Enugu, capital of Eastern Nigeria. By 1968 the Eastern Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation was maintaining two television stations, one in Enugu and another in Aba.
In April 1962 the federal government started the Nigerian Television Service, Channel 10 Lagos, headed by T.O.S Benson. After the civil war in the country there was significant increase in television broadcasting. Almost all the twelve states of the federation had their own TV stations. In 1976 the number of stations had risen to nineteen. The politics of Nigeria immediately before and after independence placed more emphasis on developing regions more than the seat of power at the federal level.
In 1977, the Nigeria Television Authority, NTA, was established to function as an independent body. NTA was given charge over television broadcasting in Nigeria. However, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria later removed the exclusive powers of NTA in television broadcasting in Nigeria. The constitution rather allowed for the establishment and operation of broadcast stations by different state governments, organizations or individuals subject to the president’s permission.
According to Okunna (1993:55) in the period between 1979-1983 ten state governments established their own television stations with the result that by the end of 1983, Nigeria had thirty-two TV stations each operating within the official guidelines and programmed schedules, depending, of course, on whether it is owned by the state government or operated as part of the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA).
On October 1 1975, Jos television (former Benue-Plateau Radio\ TV) started colour transmission thereby becoming the first television station to send colour signals.
By 2003, Nigeria had open-air stations, private stations, which are mostly satellite retransmission stations.
Udeajah (2004:342) noted that these stations are grouped as follows.
Voice of Nigeria (VON)
National Television Authority ( NTA)
135 FRCN FM stations
37 state broadcasting corporations (radio and television) including Aso FM Abuja.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF AFRICAN INDEPENDENT TELEVISION (AIT)
DAAR Communication did not start broadcasting operations until 1994, six years after its in-corporation. This was due to legislative initiative in Nigeria’s broadcasting sector. It was not until August 24, 1992, about fifty years after the advent of broadcasting in Nigeria, that the government promulgated Decree No 38 which deregulated the ownership of the electronic media in the country.
This piece of legislation ushered in a new era of private ownership of radio and television stations. DAAR Communication applied for radio, television and direct broadcasting by satellite license, the license was subsequently granted. It began full commercial broadcasting operation on September 1, 1994 on its high radio channel with the call sign, RAY POWER 100.5, the first private independent radio station in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
AIT’s audience is global; the appeal is to a broad cross-section of popular taste to those seeking authentic and authoritative information about African, Caribbean, and Afro American experience. AIT provides the natural programming choice. The station beams quality programmes round the clock down linked and redistributed in Africa, the whole America, Mexico and the Caribbean. The in-depth coverage aims to keep global viewers fully in tune with the soul of an African broadcaster offering premium quality service.
DAAR Communication Limited broadcasting stations are on air 24-hours daily. Likewise its Internet Company also provides 24-hour services.
AIT’s main task is to project Africa from a holistic African perspective, undiluted, and absolutely original; AIT offers the world a new insight into the African experience. The management structure allows for autonomy in running of the distinct service that makes up the broadcast company- RAY POWER 100.5, AIT and DAAR INTERNET with separate general manager for each of the stations, the autonomy of the arms is only limited to the extent that it is answerable to a broad management that is headed by the chief operating officer.
1.2 Statement of the research Problem.
Implication of the NBC code on broadcasting media can be said to be how the National Broadcasting Commission activities and services have been influencing the operating of the broadcast media. Ever since the establishment of the National Broadcasting Commission, it has been trying its best to regulate the broadcast media in the society. This research work would help to show the implication of National Broadcasting Commission code on AIT broadcasting media.
1.3 Objectives of the study.
The aims and objectives of this study are:
To find out to what extent news staffs are aware of the NBC code.
To examine in what methods NBC code is being carried out on AIT.
To find out if NBC code in anyway aids AIT’s professionalism.
To examine the implication of NBC code on AIT’s programme.
To find out to what extent the AIT’s closure in 2005 affected its news reportage.
1.4 Research Questions
To what extent are AIT’s news staffs aware of the NBC code?
What methods does NBC use to ensure AIT’s compliance with their code?
Does NBC code in anyway aid AIT’s professionalism?
How far does NBC code affect AIT’s programmes?
To what extent did the NBC closure of AIT in 2005 affect the organization (AIT)?
1.5 Scope of the study
This research work will look into the subject, implication of National Broadcasting Commission Code on broadcasting media. The findings of this research work are limited to African Independent Television Lagos state.
1.6 Significance of the study
It is hoped that the findings of this research work will not only add to the vast knowledge about the implication of the National Broadcasting Commission code on broadcasting media. It will also serve as a reflection of the activities of the National Broadcasting Commission. It would also help broadcasting media in building their operations on NBC directives.
Again, it will serve as a guide to prospective researchers who may want to further explore this area of study.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
This is the definition of various terms that make up the research topic according to their operational meanings to the research work.
Implication: This is implied as the action of national broadcasting commission code on AIT.
National Broadcasting Commission: This is a regulatory body established by the government to monitor and regulate the operations of broadcast media of which AIT is included.
Code: This is the system of accepted laws and regulations that NBC use to govern procedure on behavior of broadcast media (AIT).
Broadcast: This is a function of AIT to the society, to disseminate information to the society.
Media: This is AIT through which information is being generated or circulated to the public.