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Challenges Of The Freedom Of Information Bill To The Broadcast Media (Case Study Of Nta Kaduna)

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CHALLENGES OF THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION BILL TO THE BROADCAST MEDIA  (CASE STUDY OF NTA KADUNA)

ABSTRACT

One of the cardinal points upon which the freedom of information Bill is founded is the promotion of an enabling environment for unfettered access to information as it concerns the conduct of public affairs, records and documents. Considering that one of the major set backs of the growth of the Nigeria’s fledging democracy is the fact that most official transactions, both in public and private sectors are shrouded in secrecy. This study however, shall highlight the present challenges the delay in the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill pose to the media and the society. The case study for this research is NTA Kaduna network. The survey research method is used while the simple percentage is used for analyzing responses gotten from questionnaires administered.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

          CHAPTER ONE

  1. Introduction

1.1     History of Case Study  

1.2     Statement of General Study

1.3     Aims and Objectives of Study

1.4     Hypothesis and Research Questions

1.5     Theoretical Frame work

         

          CHAPTER TWO

  1. Literature Review

2.1     Democracy 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 Secrets

2.5     Freedom Laws in two Worlds

2.6     Benefits of the Freedom of Information Bill

 

          CHAPTER THREE

  1. Research Methodology

3.1     Technique and Method of Data Collection

3.1.1  Primary Data Collection

3.1.2  Secondary Data Collection

3.2     Justification for Approaches used

3.3     Data Gathering Instrument

3.4     Research Population and Sample Size

3.5     Data Analysis Technique

 

          CHAPTER FOUR

  1. Data Presentation and Analysis
    1.       Analysis and interpretation

4.2     Test of hypothesis

 

CHAPTER FIVE

5.0     Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  1. Summary
  2. Conclusion
  3. Recommendation

Appendix

Questionnaire

Bibliography

 

CHAPTER ONE

  1. Introduction

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 law.

 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 Television Kaduna).

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 economic goals.

NTA’s Vision and Mission

Vision

“To be a World-Class television Network”       

Mission

“To provide excellent television services worldwide and project the true African perspectives.”

The station (NTA Kaduna) has six departments

  • Programmes:

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.

News Department

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.   

  • Engineering Department

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 zone.

  • Administrative Department

The department is the human resource and personnel arm of the station. It is in charge of policy interpretation and implementation.

  • Finance Department

The finance department manages the finances of the station.

 

  • Marketing Department

The marketing department is responsible for the marketing and advertising activities of the station.

Nigerian Television 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 (NTA) Kaduna.

Some of these challenges include:



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