Table of Content




Title page                                                                                                                           i


Declaration                                                                                                                        ii


Certification Page                                                                                                               iii


Dedication                                                                                                                           v


Acknowledgement                                                                                                              vi


Table of Content                                                                                                                 vii


List of Content                                                                                                                   x


Abstract                                                                                                                              xi







Background of the Study



Statement of the Problem



Objectives of the Study



Research Question



Scope of the Study



Significance of the Study



Operational Definition of Terms







2.1 Introduction


2.2 Review of concepts


2.2.1 The concept of censorship


2.2.2 The concept of mass media


2.2.3 The concept of news


2.3. Review of related studies


2.4.Theoretical framework


2.5 Summary







3.1 Introduction



Research Design



Population of the Study



Sampling Technique/ Sampling



Description of the Research Instrument



Validity of data Gathering Instrument



Method of Data Collection



Method of Data Analysis







4.1 Introduction



Data Presentation and Analysis



Discussion of Findings




5.1 Introduction



Summary of Findings









Suggestion for Further Studies




Appendix A


Appendix B






Table 1; Demographic Data on Sex


Table 2; Age range


Table 3; Marital status


Table 4; Educational qualifications


Table 5; How long have you worked in Nasarawa Broadcasting Service


Table 6; what cadre are you


Data from survey table


Table 7; meaning of censorship


Table 8; is censorship practiced in Nasarawa Broadcasting Service?


Table 9; to what extent is news censored in NasarawaBroadcasting Service?


Table 10; what form of news censorship is practiced in Nasarawa Broadcasting service?


Table 11; which of the following measures have you experienced?


Table 12; what is the reason given for news censorship in your organization?


Table 13; what do you think encourages news censorship am0ng journalist?


Table 14; do you think news censorship can affect the performance of a media house?


Table 15; if yes, how?



Table 16; Does news censorship in whatever form practiced influence objectivity, accuracy and

balance in news


Table 17; how does news censorship influence news objectivity accuracy and balance?


Table 18; has news censorship influence your performance in anyway?


Table 19; if yes, in what way?


Table 20; In the long run what will be the effect of this social phenomenon?



Table 21; would you suggest that news censorship should not be practiced no matter the reasons




Table 22; what steps should be taken to minimize news censorship?




The aim of this study was to analysis the influence of News Censorship on the Performance of Media Houses in Nigeria. The aim of this study was achieved using the survey research method. Subjects were drawn from staff of Nasarawa Broadcasting service using the purposive sampling technique. Five research questions were used in the study. The findings of the study showed that, news censorship has negative influence on the performance media houses, news objectivity, accuracy and balance and on reporters and editors. However, recommendations were by the researchers that reporters and editors should be given the freedom to gather and disseminate news without prior and post censorship and self-censorship for the interest of the public and for news objectivity, accuracy and balance; which should be priority of every media house. However, this freedom should be matched with maximum responsibility to ensure continuous public and government trust in the media. The researcher suggested that further study should be made using more refined tools, larger sample size and another geographical area that will give the study a wider scope and empirical lift.







1.1 Background of the study



The primary function of the mass media is to provide information, escapism, and entertainment, give self-worth and link different societies to other societies. (Ndolo, 2006).In any country, the media is expected to be the voice of the voiceless and to seek justice, which is the true nature of journalism.


The media, in the performance of its duty is expected to be neutral, objective and balanced. However, achieving this has proven to be difficult due to some factors, the most significant of all, being censorship of the media.


In Nigeria, as well as other developing countries, freedom is still elusive based on historical information. The media began without any definite statutory control. For instance, the first


documented newspaper „IweIroyin (1859)‟ was p regulating the activities of publishers. Although this unregulated situation did not remain


unchecked as the government grew increasingly unsettled by media content. It experienced occasional interruption by the then colonial government. This unrest increased with the emergence of nationalist papers and the need for media independence became inevitable.


Since the attainment of independence in 1960, the mass media have been attributed to extra-legal control measures imposed on them to restrict their social responsibilities. It was more felt during the military regime.


Since 1999, the role the media played in ushering in democracy cannot be over-emphasized as they helped to inform, educate and serve as watchdog over the society. In spite of this, it is obvious that the disposition of the society towards the media have not been favourable. Hence, there is need for this research, to find out the extent and influence of news censorship on the performance of media.


Historical Background of Nasarawa Broadcasting Service



In 1959, when the then premier of Western region of Nigeria established a broadcasting station. It has become the practice in Nigeria for states to own their broadcasting stations. Desirous of the need to provide social service by way of educating, enlightening, entertaining and informing the general public of government programmes and activities, the Nasarawa State government enacted an Edict No 19 of 1998, establishing Nasarawa Broadcasting Service NBS.


Nasarawa Broadcasting Service had its pioneers staff deployed from Plateau Radio and


Television (PRTV) Jos. The station‟s name was by the first military administrator Late Wing Commander Abdullah Ibrahim. Nasarawa


Broadcasting Service started transmission in February 1997 at the temporary state secretariat along Shendam Road Lafia.


Nasarawa Broadcasting Service is a two in one broadcast outfit (Radio and Television) and operates on a 2kilowatts transmitter (Itelco product) supplied by Kris OnyeKwuluje of Lagos. Nasarawa Broadcasting Service was found to be using the same frequency as Hot 93.5 FM in Abuja and was letter changed to 97.1 FM by NBC in 1997.

1.2              Statement of the Problem



In many countries of the world, particularly the developing countries, the media have freedom to publish or broadcast whatever is in the best interest of the society. In developing countries like Nigeria, despite the fact that it has several laws, especially Section 39 Sub-Section


(1) of 1999 constitution, which gave right to the media and stipulates that:



“Every                 person   shall   be   entitled   to   f



Including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and



Impact                                                              ideas   and   information   without




Inspite of what the constitution has stipulated, government and other influential individuals still infringe on those rights and hinder the delivery of news objectivity. The question this study seeks to answer is, how has news censorship by government influence the performance of Nasarawa State Broadcasting Service?


1.3              Objectives of the Study



1.      To find out the extent, reporters and editors at Nasarawa Broadcasting Service are faced with problems of news censorship.


2.      To determine the various forms of news censorship at the Nasarawa Broadcasting Service.


3.      To find out the reason behind the censorship of news at Nasarawa Broadcasting Service.


4.      To find out how news censorship has affected the performance of Nasarawa Broadcasting Service with regards to the dissemination of news to its audience.


5.      To proffer solutions to problems of news censorship at Nasarawa Broadcasting Service.

1.4              Research Questions



1.                    To what extent are reporters and editors at Nasarawa Broadcasting Service faced with the problem of news censorship?


2.                  What are the forms of news censorship at Nasarawa Broadcasting Service?



3.                  What are the reasons behind the censorship of news at Nasarawa Broadcasting Service?



4.                  How does news censorship affect the performance of Nasarawa Broadcasting Service in the dissemination of information to its audience?


5.                    What are the solutions to the problems of news censorship at Nasarawa Broadcasting Service?


1.5 Scope of the Study



This study is limited to Nasarawa State Broadcasting Service. The study concentrated on the staff (reporters and editors) of this media house. The findings of this study could be generalized to include other government owned media houses, bearing in mind that Nasarawa Broadcasting Service is also a government owned media house.


1.6 Significance of the Study



This study stands to offer opportunity for the following group of people: media houses, government, journalists, lawmakers and mass communication students.


Through this study, the government will reconsider reasons that make objectivity and accuracy in news content imperative to the development of Nigeria. Journalist will see reasons


why self-censorship should be shunned and more importantly, media house will need to come up with credible and reliable news and information for the survival of the organization.


Law makers also will review laws that promote acts of news censorship, finally this study will act as a guide to students of mass communication undertaking study on similar work.


1.8 Operational Definition of Significant Terms



Mass Media: it is the channel through which information; news, opinion and others are disseminated around the world and received by the categories of mass media namely: electronic media which comprises of radio, television and internet and print media which includes newspaper, magazine, journals and books.


Censorship: It stands for monitoring spoken or written information that goes into the media of communication. And punishment meted for anybody who intend to inform without conforming to prescribed rules or procedures designed by ruling powers.


Control: The limitation of the freedom the media has in gathering and disseminating news.



News: anything timely that interest a number of people.



Influence: The power of news censorship on the performance of the media.



Broadcasting: it is the dissemination of messages and information over electronic media.



Performance: The ability of the media house (NBS) to gather and disseminate information






Literature Review






This chapter is concerned with   the   review   of   related   study   o


News Censorship on the Performance of Media Houses in Nigeria: (a Study of Nasarawa


Broadcasting Service)”.   The   chapterthefollowingis arrangedheadings:   under



2.2  Review of concepts.



2.3  Review of related studies



2.4  Theoretical framework



2.5  Summary



2.2 Review of Concepts:



The following concepts were reviewed:



1.                    The concept of censorship



2.                    The concept of mass media



3.                    The concept of news



2.2.1 The Concept of Censorship



The definition of censorship just like any other term has been viewed differently by various people and scholars. Censorship in modern times could be the examination of radio programmes, news reports and other communication media for the purpose of altering or


suppressing part thought to be objectionable or offensive; which may be considered immoral, heretical, blasphemous, seditious and injurious to the society.


Wikipedia defines censorship, as a suppression of speech or other communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive or inconvenient to the general body of people as determined by a government, media outlet or other controlling body. Censorship is seen as the control of information and ideas circulated within a society. Reichmann (1988) sees censorship as, the removal, suppression or restricted circulated literary, artistic or educational materials on the grounds that they are morally or otherwise objectionable in the light of standard applied by the censor.


In this way, the right to freedom of expression guaranteed by section 39 sub-sections (1) of


1999 constitution as stated below has been vi expression including ideas and informationlegallyand wi constitutionally guaranteed to express freedom but the various Nigerian constitutions have



always recognized the importance of the media under the clause that gives freedom of expression, beginning with the Independence constitution of 1963 to the Republican constitution of 1979 and then the present 1999 constitution. In the mist of this freedom there are still some restrictions like those stipulated by section 39(3) of 1999 constitution which empowers any law that is reasonable justifiable in a democratic society to prevent the disclosure of information received in confidence. Some of these legal limitations include the following: law of defamation, censorship, sedition and obscenity and so on.


The meter for measuring democracy and the tonic for self and national development is media freedom but what is this freedom? It is not freedom for journalist alone nor is it censorship

or restraint by only government; it is free flow of information and access to information without





Forms of Censorship



1.                  Prior censorship: this is when an information material is being banned, subjected to scrutiny or censored before publication. This may be done by the government or its agencies, publishers, organization, individuals, religious body or other association either by force or negotiations.


2.                  Post censorship: this is the censoring or banning of information materials after it has been published.


3.            Self-censorship: this is when editors and reporters remove or suppress parts of news story they feel is objectionable.


Types of Censorship in the Nigerian Society



1.            Moral censorship: this is the banning of news materials because they are morally objectionable to the various cultural norms in the society; knowing that Nigeria is a heterogeneous society.


2.            Military censorship: in Nigeria this is the banning of information materials that tend to expose military tactics and national information for security reasons.


3.            Religious censorship: in Nigeria two major religions dominate namely Christianity and Islam. This is the banning of information materials because they are religiously questionable.


4.                  Corporate censorship: it is the banning of information materials considered unfitting to a corporate body or its partners. In Nigeria this kind of censorship is rare as there are no much corporations with monopoly. Many of the public corporations are yet under government control. Hence the only monopoly is the government but fortunately to say it is democracy.


5.            Political censorship: this occurs when the Nigerian government needs to keep secrets from its citizen in order to prevent disruption. Although democracy does not support this, yet in some circumstances it is necessary for the survival of the state calling to mind that Nigeria has always had the tendency of splitting.


Reasons Why Media Houses Practice News Censorship



1. Ownership: the ownership pattern of a media outfit tells how free and responsible it will be to the society. Both the private and government system of ownership have powerful influence on the media in social, political, economic and religious affairs of the society. If anything will make news censorship possible it is the management of the media outfit. Since they have the


power to determine what goes into the media. media system is controlled and influenced by the ruling class who use the media entrench and disseminate its own values.”




2. Intimidation and fear: this is a serious reason why news censorship is prevailing in our media houses today. Journalist, because of intimidation and fear may drop a news story, because they think it may not be in the interest of whoever he is writing about, the owner of the media house or the government.


3.                  Job security: every journalist has his life to live, personal demands to meet and to cope with economic difficulty characterized in our Nigerian society. To survive in this society, they tend to forfeit some professional ethics in order to meet these demands. A journalist cannot discharge his duty credibly if he is suffering from deprivation of the most basic human needs, thus since journalist appointment has been deeply politicized, it then becomes inevitable for media products to be just and balanced not censored.(Nicholas,2005).


4.                  Funding of the media: financial stability of a media house is proportional to the level of censorship it receives. If a media house has to depend on government or private body for its fund then censorship is inevitable.


5.                  Laziness and incompetence: when a journalist is not well trained he may not even know what is expected of him. Laziness also contributes to censorship of news stories, as some journalist may not even go out to cover a story and may not have the patience to write the story properly.


6.                  Ruling government: it has remained largely a difficult situation for media to balance its act, as at times persons critical of the government face reprisal. And top government officials after being exposed, resort to filing heavy suit against the media house just to make the media house spend from its lean resources and consequently removal of the journalist in question.


Reasons Why Government Indulge in Censorship



In Nigerian society the purpose of censorship varies. Some target materials deem to be indecent or obscene, heretical or blasphemous, seditious or treason. Therefore ideas are suppressed under the guise of protecting three basic social institutions; which is the family, religious institution and the government.

 Protection of minors: censoring inappropriate language and contents being screened on television at times when children are likely to still be awake is one of the numerous purposes why censorship is practiced in Nigeria. This is a beneficial censorship even if it is ineffective in practice.


 Social problems: there have been reports that associate aggressive behaviors in youths and adult with what they watch or hear on television or radio and how often they watch or hear them.


 National security: media contents are censored in order to check information that appears exposing or that leak government defense secretes.


Influence of News Censorship on Media Performance



 News objectivity and balance: the concept of objectivity in news reporting demands that facts must be presented as they are. It stresses that facts must be allowed to speak for themselves. Therefore objectivity imports faithfulness to fact. According to Nwabueze (2005), while quoting Kasoma: to get what could be described as a complete and encompassing presentation of the basic principles of good reporting. It is described as a guide or compass to stress free, hitch free and trouble free reporting. These principles are as follows:

Get the facts starting with who, what, when, where, why and if appropriate how.

Accuracy                     and   precision;   get   it   right   do

Always double check from two or more source especially if it is controversial or might damage someone.

Always be fair, give both sides, and try to balance competing points of view so the reader, listener or viewer can judge for himself.

Beware of all conflict of interest and omit biases. To do this, you must be honest with yourself on what your own biases are.

Never let a person make you fearful.



Objectivity on the side of journalist implies that, journalist shall at all times be fair, accurate, unbiased and factual in the assessment and presentation of information and


reports in the media. In Ngene‟s (2002) wo keep their biases, opinion, view, philosophies and idiosyncrasies out of the news story.


She further said that lack of objectivity in news reports leads to loss of media credibility, status, audience, advertisers and journalist morale.


One of the criteria in measuring a professional journalism is the observation of the ethics of journalism. Trust is the broadest word that encompasses accuracy, objectivity and fairness. Gilmore (1975) in Okunna (1995, p.43) explains that objectivity has a strong affinity with responsibility in mass communication and therefore it is the center of their profession. Objectivity essentially requires that journalist in reporting news should keep themselves out in their report by not injecting their emotions and personal opinion into the news stories. If the researcher is to use this attributes as parameter for measuring the objectivity of news censorship, the researcher will discover that broadcast media in Nigeria and NBS are grossly unobjective. One can understand that ethics requires fairness and balance in news reporting. The question as to whether censorship allows for objectivity and balances in news is left for individual opinion and shall be discovered in latter chapters.


Influence on Profession: censorship has lingering impact on the profession. It undermines the profession and reduces the practitioner to mere errand boy, because the practice of reporting only what you are been told to say makes the practitioner the mouthpiece of the ruling class instead of the society. Today, most practitioners and media houses now sideline their fundamental principles and ethics to practice self-censorship; which at the long run puts the profession and the society in jeopardy.


2.2.2 The Concept of Mass Media:



The term mass media according to Mc Quail (2000) in Ifedayo  (2005, p.159)


[…is shortened to describeionthatoperatesmeansonlarge scale,of commu reaching and involving virtually everyone in the society to a greater or lesser degree. It


refers to a number of media that are now long established and familiar such as television, radio, newspaper, magazine, film, and phonograph]. Mass media are channels of communication in a modern society, primarily the print and electronic media. Dennis Mc Quail went on to describe mass media as the organized means for communicating openly and at a distance to many receivers within a short space of time. The mass media encompasses the following: television, radio, newspaper, magazine, books, and movies which are impersonal communication channels and they reach large audience simultaneously within a short space of time.


The societal impact of mass media according to Murphy (1977) as cited by Ifedayo (2005, p.160) as oil, glue, and dynamite. As oil, media of communication keeps the world running smoothly by helping individuals adjust to the reality of their lives. The


media in the words of   Murphy   “encourages   order   by   rep


who transgress legal or social norms”. A communication. Murphy contends that the media gives us all something to talk about by


setting agenda of discussion. And finally, as dynamite the mass media could be harbinger of trouble, war or conflict. He cited the propaganda of Adolf Hitler amongst Germans. The mass media can also be that dynamite that can rip the society apart.


Function of Mass Media



The functions of mass media according to (Ifedayo, 2005) are as follows:



1.                  Servicing the political system: the news media are indispensable in a democratic society. They are fourth estate of the realm, independent, free and responsible to the public.


2.                  Safe guarding civil liberty: in order to prevent government from infringing civil liberty, the mass media plays role of a watchdog to warn the public whenever personal liberties are endangered.


3.                  Servicing the economic system: with the emergence of modern advertising, the function of the mass media in servicing the economy becomes relevant as various firms can now make their goods and services publicly known within a short space of time to a large audience.


4.                  Entertainment: this is one very important function of the mass media which is their ability to present messages that provide escapism and relaxation. The media provides relief from boredom, stimulates our emotions, help fill our leisure time keeps us company. It also exposes us to experience event we could not attend in person (Steinberg, 1997).


5.                  Power to influence: the mass media wield so much power as an institution. They are a means by which other institutions make their power felt. Their ability to spread message to multitude of people over larger territories makes them a source of power.


The media also performs the following functions to the society that are not mentioned by Ifedayo:

To provide information to the people. Information that are fair, balance and objective in all forms.

Agenda setting: the fact that the mass media are extremely influential gives them the capacity to dictate to the society what to think and how to think.

The media educates the society by providing knowledge about things that have not been learnt or taught.

The media integrates the society by drawing diverse cultural groups together to form one voice when it comes to issues of national interest.

The          mass   media   is   custodian   of   the   peop





2.2.3        The Concept of News:


The term news appears to be difficult to define. This is because no single definition can express all the various considerations. Philip Porter as far back as 1935 described news as anything timely that interest a number of people and best news is that which got the greatest interest from the large number of people.


Hulteng and Nelson (1971) in Onabajo interests you, which you did not already know. Both elements are present typically in an


item of news”. News is about recent happenings local, national or international in outlook and which is disseminated in the interest of the


public. Information has to be received for social equilibrium to be maintained. It is two-way communication channel from government to the governed and vice-versa.


News therefore is anything current, important and contains the entire element of news which is happening or about to happen.


Elements of News Worthiness



1.                  Timeliness: the immediacy of an event is the most significant factor in its relative news worthiness.


2.                  Proximity: this means the closeness in space i.e. in the geographical sense and closeness in mind; which is the psychological sense. It is a very strong determinant of the news worthiness of an event.


3.                  Prominence: events that concern prominent people are instantly considered news worthy i.e. presidents, ministers, politicians, business magnates etc.


4.                  Consequence: consumers of news have keen interest in events that have implication for their present or future.


5.                  Oddity: certain scenes of unusual occurrence such as accidents cannibalism etc are considered to be news worthy.


Sources of News


Correspondent reports: correspondents visit their beats on daily basis to scout for



Interview: this is the process of chatting with a personality either face to face or through a phone for the purpose of finding out and writing out something about an issue of public interest.

Monitoring of other stations: not all stations can afford the luxury of sending correspondents to other parts of the world or country to cover events. Therefore they source their news by monitoring stations situated in these countries. Slated events: news is also sourced from slated events such as seminars; conference etc. pre-event invitations are extended to various stations or media houses. A reporter is then assigned and will be expected to file in stories.

Roving: reporters are often assigned the responsibility to rove round the street to nose for news and cover them.

News releases: news is sourced through press handout by organizations and various levels of government seeking publicity.

International news agencies: various media houses also gather news from or through international news agencies based in various countries of interest.





2.3 Review of Related Studies



Two studies related to the present study were reviewed. They were:


Press Censorship and its Impact in Print Houses. (A study of Nasarawa Newsday), by Shola Adebayo, 2006_ unpublished project.

Press Censorship: A Hindrance to Smooth Journalism Practice in Nigeria. (A study of PUNCH Newspaper), by Abednego Ishaya, 2005.


2.3.1              Adebayo, S. (2006). Press Censorship and its Impact in Print Houses, (A study of Nasarawa Newsday) unpublished project.


The study by Shola Adebayo is geared towards highlighting the practice of censorship in print media houses and the extent at which it is practiced in print media houses. According to Shola censorship means the control of journalist and press men by physical attacks, query and warning for reporting some issues considered sensitive by some group of persons. The study in review is similar to the present study in that they both focused on censorship. Shola based his study on press censorship with particular attention to print media while this present study focused on news censorship in the broadcast media. Therefore both studies have different approaches to the problem of censorship.


2.3.2       Ishaya, A. (2005). Press censorship: A Hindrance to Smooth Journalistic


Practice in Nigeria. (A Study of Punch Newspaper)



The study by Abednego Ishaya viewed censorship as an infringement on freedom of speech. Censorship is particularly discordant in relativity to freedom as that connotes that a specific group of people are deciding how we should view the world and what we should know about it. Censorship is likely to subdue media articles relating to a negative impression of the government, simply out of vanity than any sort of control. Any form of government control censorship on media is detrimental, because media is the artifact for


the „people‟ written byiesthe.Media should„people‟befreetoreport not au the truth in all its ugliness whether it is suitable for the public to know or not.


Abednego went on to proffer solution that society need news policy to be written that put more trust in the people. The study in review and the present study used the same research design and sampling technique but have different focus.


2.4              Theoretical Framework



One key theories formed the foundation for this study. They were:



2.4.1. The Social Reasonability theory



Social responsibility theory combines freedom with responsibility to the society. This theory originated from an American initiative- the 1947 Hutchins commission on the freedom of the press. It believes that media practitioners should be given freedom to operate. However, makes it clear that media freedom from any control should not be at


expense of the society‟s development or pea matched with equivalent responsibility, as the much trumpeted independent media does not


exist anywhere.



This theory (Social Responsibility theories) are applicable to this study because, they charge media workers to be free and accountable to society for whatever they do.

2.5. Summary:



This chapter succeeded in reviewing the variables which are the concept censorship, concept of mass media and the concept of news in the study. It also reviewed two other studies related to the present study and examined two theories, the libertarian theory and the social responsibility theory relevant to the study.


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