Performance of Government Owned Print Media vs Private Owned Print Media


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The study is aimed at identifying problems of government owned print media as exemplified by Tide Newspaper and then to make a comparative analysis with the Independent Monitor, a private newspaper to ascertain the level of its performance despite its problems. This was necessitated by the current widespread belief that government owned print media are performing below standard.

To identify those difficulties, two main sources of data were applied. The person to person survey technique and the administration of questionnaires. The person to person survey technique were used to obtain verbal information while the questionnaires were used to obtain written responses.

The tested hypothesis for the study was: problems of government owned print media were both political, economic, managerial, and technological in nature. The finding for the study conform to the factors stated above – economic, political, managerial and technological factors poses the difficulties experienced in government – owned media.

This study in view of the findings, recommended that, government should strive hard to dissociate itself from the day to day running of the media, should find the media as effectively as possible and regularly monitor the activities of management.


The media is a very vital instrument in social reforms and in the reconstruction of ideas and perceptions of events in the society, while in the political arena, the media is the bone to democratic government but a bane to autocratic despots anywhere in the world.

The media therefore constitutes the channel through which information; ideas and news are disseminated to the public. These channels included newspapers, magazines, television, posters, periodicals, etc.

The media as a channel of mass communication is a well-organized system of collecting and sending out information to the public, this is more common with newspapers where its entire function is centered on the transmission of news and ideas.

Newspapers as channels of communication play a tremendous role in reforming, educating, enlightening and entertaining as well as setting agenda for the people with a severe limitation to the literate class of the society. Most activities and lifestyle we engage in today are shaped and fashioned by the media through its diverse functions.

Though, in performing these functions several factors affected its effectiveness. These factors may arise from distortions in the channels to the inability of the person sending out the information to effectively communicate to the intended listeners or readers and also the inability of the person receiving the information to establish contact as well as paying serious attention to the message being disseminated.

Indeed it is generally accepted that we all live in a modern world of communication where we cannot exist without sharing ideas and information for the benefit of society, be it traditional or modern. With the current trends of social and political awareness throughout the globe and especially in Nigeria, the media has become a vital instrument conveying the elements for reconstruction. For instance, during the struggle for Nigerian’s independence, the media especially the newspapers were the organs through which the nationalist dreams and
aspirations were realized. Such newspapers include:- The Lagos times by Richard Blaise, the African messenger by Ernest Ikoli etc. This is apparent in the fact that Nigeria did not achieve independence through the barrel of the gun like most African countries viz Angola, Mozambique, Algeria, etc. but through the influence of the media. Again during me third republic the medium (newspaper) covered and reported detailed information regarding the political status of the country, it strove to effectively shape the attitude and perception of Nigerians towards the issue at stake. Though in Nigeria most of the strong newspapers are owned and controlled by the government this therefore affected its contents and as well as going contrary to the private media both in coverage, censorship, pluralism and editorials. With the control of most media by the government for instance radio, television, Ministries of information, the news agency of Nigeria, voice of Nigeria and most of the print media, are based on the requirement that before any person can establish any media, an individual is required to register with the government, the governments could at any point in time close down media that prove stubborn,
thereby not allowing the free expression of ideas and information, those in private hands too are seeking favours from the government and therefore introduce what is called self censorship. With some control of the government the aim of achieving objective reporting as
a base of every democratic society is defeated. In most government owned and controlled media in our society, it is very much said, and believed without much evidence that there is virtually poor performance in their general services in respect to news coverage, editorial policy and typography and page make-up, infact it is quite true that in recent times, government media have sold out their place to the privately owned media because what end up in me government media are more or less pieces of propaganda presenting entirely only government views whereas me ills of that same government are censored out in the media. Therefore most readers want to get the
truth and where such does not exist in the government media they rum to private media which seem to be fairly unbiased. Therefore, an extensive study to revive this current trend in government owned media by way of identifying those factors militating against its effective performance shall be investigated and compared with the private media. As a result of the various problems encountered by the
media especially the government owned ones. They seem to be performing below standard in the present circumstances. This is why this project is being undertaken.

Also the alarming rate at which government owned media are depreciating and becoming ineffective in their professional obligation has indeed created concern in the minds of communication practitioners, scholars of mass communication and the society at large.

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