TABLE OF CONTENTS
of Case Study
of General Study
and Objectives of Study
and Research Questions
and its Obligation
2.2 Nigeria’s Obligation under
International Law to have Access to Information Law
2.3 Freedom of Information Bill and the Media
2.4 National Security Interest and Official
2.5 Freedom Laws in two Worlds
2.6 Benefits of the Freedom of Information Bill
and Method of Data Collection
for Approaches used
Population and Sample Size
Presentation and Analysis
Analysis and interpretation
Conclusion and Recommendation
The Freedom of Information Bill (FOI)
is a bill that, if passed into law, will give every Nigerian access to
information, records and documents held by government bodies and private bodies
carrying out public functions.
It applies to all arms of government:
the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary as well as to all tiers of government:
Federal, State and Local Governments.
So far, Nigeria has no law which guarantees
citizens access to public records and information. On the contrary, many
Nigerian laws have secrecy clauses prohibiting the disclosure of information
e.g. the official secrets Act, the Criminal Code, the Penal code e.t.c.
Restricting access to vital
information starves the press of the legal authority to publish or broadcast
what they know to be true. The Nigerian press has for many years been accused
of sensationalism as against fact-based journalism because their reports appear
to be unbacked with evidence.
The FOI Bill has gone through three
readings and a public hearing and has been passed by the lower chamber of the
National Assembly, and at the Senate, it has also passed through three readings
and a public hearing awaiting harmonization and presidential assent to become
1.1 HISTORY OF CASE STUDY
In February 1962, the Broadcasting
Company of Northern Nigeria known as BCNN was
born. It was commissioned on 15th
March, 1962. BCNN was established by the premier of the then
Northern region, the Sardauna of Sokoto, Late Sir Ahmadu Bello. He wanted a
medium through which he could sell his government’s policies and bring
development to the whole of the north, because he felt that the existing Radio
Station, the NBC was not giving adequate coverage to his government and indeed
the activities of the Northern region. The Station started in monochrome. In
1963, the RTK (Radio Television, Kaduna)
arm was established the combination was known and still remained as RTK (Radio
The television arm was excised from
the former Broadcasting Corporation of Northern Nigeria (BCNN) with Decree No.
24 of May 1977 which took effect retrospectively from 1st April, 1976.
The station has two (2) 10KW transmitters:
Larcan Transmitter installed in April, 1994 and Rhodes and Schwarz (R & S) installed
in year 2000, both transmitters are located at No. 99 Isa kaita Road, Kaduna.
Objectives of NTA
The NTA derives its objectives from
the overall aims of broadcasting in Nigeria. As a medium of
communication, television seeks to enrich life of the average Nigerian by
influencing positively his social, cultural, economic, political, and
technological thinking. It also brings him news and information about national
issues. Besides this, it serves as a source of entertainment. Television promotes
cultural awareness and seeks to preserve Nigeria’s rich culture. Through the
medium, artistic and intellectual creativity are developed. Therefore, all
programmes and coverage should be audience – oriented and guided by the
nation’s social, political, moral, cultural, scientific, educational and
NTA’s Vision and Mission
“To be a World-Class television
“To provide excellent television
services worldwide and project the true African perspectives.”
The station (NTA Kaduna) has six
The Programmes Department
is responsible for planning and producing programmes for transmission; the
programs types are light entertainment, drama, variety and documentary.
The department is also
responsible for all OB coverages and
contributions to networks programmes.
The News department is
responsible for News and Current Affairs Programmes. It is statutorily vested
with the responsibility of gathering and broadcasting News from all sources
within the country some of its star programmes are News World, Weekend Panorama,
Guests of the Week and Issues of the Moment.
The department is
responsible for the maintenance of all equipment and daily transmission of
programmes. As a Zonal Centre, it contributes to transmission of network programmes.
It is equipped to cover and transmit live programmes from any location within
The department is the
human resource and personnel arm of the station. It is in charge of policy interpretation
The finance department
manages the finances of the station.
The marketing department
is responsible for the marketing and advertising activities of the station.
Authority (NTA) Kaduna
is located in the heart of the city at No. 7 Yakubu Gowon Way, Kaduna.
The station has staff
strength of Ninety – Seven (97).
Statement of General Problem
For over eight years, the
protagonists of the Freedom of Information Bill have been toiling to it get
passed at the National Assembly. The bill was presented initially in 1999 when
the return to democratic governance heightened the expectations that there will
be increased disposition towards freer information access by those in power.
By August 2004, the House of
Representatives passed the Freedom of Information Bill and two years later by
2006, the Senate by a consensus vote passed the same bill.
The general problem is that
corruption in Nigeria
is endemic, pervasive and deep-rooted in the nation’s polity.
How easy will it be for the people
who are corrupt to be the same people called upon to eliminate/minimize corruption?
Unless the lid is opened on the activities of corrupt public officials, it is
most likely to abate.
Aims and Objectives of the Study
This study shall highlight some of
the challenges the delay in the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill pose
to the Nigerian media with particular focus on the Nigeria Television Authority
Some of these challenges include:
the media the legal authority to publish what they know to be true.
the media the right to publish or broadcast fact-based reports.
a major set-back to the growth of Nigeria’s democracy because the
most official transactions, both in the public and private sectors are shrouded
The research will however provide a
premise for the applicability of the findings to other Nigerian media.
Hypothesis and Research Questions
H1: FOI Bill will provide legal access to
individuals for public information.
H2: The FOI Bill will promote
transparency and accountability in governance.
H3: The FOI Bill will give the broadcast
media the legal backing to transmit public information.
H4: The FOI will guides against the
misuse of accessed public information.
H5: The FOI Bill
gives the broadcast media total control of accessed information.
R1: What are the challenges the FOI Bill
pose to the broadcast media?
R2: What are the
legal loop holes that the FOI Bill covers, that the constitution does not
R3: What are the
benefits of FOI Bill?
Focus, Scope and Limitations
This study shall highlight the
benefits the broadcast media would derive from the bill. It will also look at
the challenges (if any) the bill will present to the broadcast media.
This study shall also review the
constitutional provisions to access of information and the limitations it
This study shall be guided by the
libertarian and the democratic participant media theory.
The libertarian theory later re-labeled
“free press theory” is hinged on the perception for increased freedom for
press. Liberal philosophers like John Stuart Mill and Milton greatly advanced
the advocacy for free press.
In the main, libertarian theory
prescribes that an individual and by extension the press should be free to hold
and express opinions freely and publish same. The theory does not see the need
for censorship since it acknowledges the great potentials of humans as rational
being who can distinguish between truth and falsehood.
The theory does not advocate press
immunity to the rule of law and the canons of civilized social conduct. It also
advocates that the press be seen as partner with government in the search of
truth, rather than a tool in the hands of government. It also advocates that:
should be free from any prior censorship by any third party.
restrictions should be placed on the collection by legal means of information
act of publication and distribution should be open to a person or group without
permit or license.
should be no compulsion to publish.
should be no restriction on exporting or importing sending or receiving of
messages across national frontiers.
Pool (1973) asserted that; “no nation
will indefinitely tolerate a freedom of the press that serves to divide the
country and open the floodgates of criticisms against the freely chosen
government that leads it.
Mcquail (1983) prescribed that the
solution to the question of press freedom could be to free the press from
adverse censorship while at the same time leaving it answerable to the law for
any consequence of its activities that infringe other individual right of the
legitimate claim of the society.
Democratic participant media theory
is yet another theory developed by Mcquail in the event of the earlier theories
to deliver the social benefits expected of them.
This theory is hinged on the
insistence that the present bureaucracy as well as commercial and professional
hegemony in the media be broken down so as to guarantee easier media access for
all users and consumers.
The theory represents people’s
disillusionment against a media system that is over monopolized, centralized
and elitist. The theory calls for greater attention to the needs, interests and
aspirations of the receiver in a political society. In the place of monopolization,
it calls for pluralism; in place of centralism, it advocates decentralization
and localism. It insists that media conglomerates be replaced or at least juxtaposed
with small scale media enterprises.