Factors Influencing Media and Media Reports in Nigeria
By Chidera onyemenam As comprehensive as this topic might seem, factors influencing media as it concerns structure, number of outlets and contents can be broadly classified into two. a) EXTERNAL FACTORS b) INTERNAL FACTORS EXTERNAL FACTORS: this covers the influence on the media as a result of the environment within which the mass media communication system operates.
They include: i)cultural influence ii) influence of the Economy iii) political influence iv)Religious influence v) Legal influence vi) Technological influence vii)Influence of Security INTERNAL FACTORS: theses are influences on the media that take place inside the media organisation. It is not readily obvious to the entire populace.
Some of these influences are even denied by the media workforce. Some of these factors include: i)Media bias ii) Ownership control iii)Wealth iv) Threats Both classified factors are instrumental to the state of the media in Nigeria. In this regard, the state of media in Nigeria differs from that in south Africa, since the conditions in which they both operate, differ. This chapter seeks to identify and explain these different conditions and factors and how they directly affect our country Nigeria.
EXTERNAL FACTORS CULTURAL INFLUENCE Culture as defined by Clyde Wuckhohn (1905-1960) an influential American anthropologist is the total way of life commonly followed by the members of a society. He also describes it as a social legacy that an individual acquires from his group. According to Clyde as stated by Ifedayo Daramola in his book ‘Media and Society’ (2005), culture includes values, beliefs, customs, religion, technology, and the roles people play in them.
In the same vein, Sir Edward B Tylor defines culture as, that complex whole which includes knowledge, arts morals, law,custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of a society. (1871) Sharing the same views with him, Chinoy (1967) defines culture as ” everything in the environment which is not in the form originally given it by nature. Therefore culture includes all the acquired traits which the members of a society have in common, but one of the inborn ones. In other words, cultural traits are traits that are generally accepted and embibed. Consequent upon these definitions, we can conclude that culture includes language, the philosophy, the religion, values, ideologies,moral codes, rituals, political beliefs and even style of greeting found among a people. This subsequently influences the thought pattern and idea of what is and what is not morally acceptable.
For instance, the African culture strongly abhors expository attires, whereas it means little or nothing to an American. The media exists for the society and so their first point of duty and allegiance is to their major audience. However, the bulk of the Nigerian audience is complex, stratified, differentiated and inter-related in so many ways. Considering this factor, the Nigerian media seeks to maintain a balance between their media report and the diverse cultures present.
Making sure to rightly represent and not offend any culture in favour of another. In this regard, the media seeks to promote, all existing cultures since its products will ultimately be handed down to these diverse audience for consumption. With the difference in philosophies and ideologies,the mass media is careful to tailor their news and advert with all sensitivity to the philosophies of their target audience. With respect to culture also, the mass media has coined ways to disseminate information to all and sundry.
In this light, the NTA news sub-stations in different States, broadcast news in the various languages common there. For example NTA Benue State broadcasts news in TiV and Idoma (the two most common tribes in Benue State). In conjunction with this localisation of news, local newspapers in different States exist to address the particular ideas and needs of that immediate society. These steps are taken to sustain audience patronage and increase coverage of a media outfit in a given region or society.
The cultural influence on media has made it possible to reach all facets of society including the masses and minority. Television programmes like African Pot are solely dedicated to the promotion of diverse cultures. The media, thus stands to uphold promote and devote its time and space to adjust and fit into the boundaries of the peoples slated moral standards, values and belief. Anything contrary to this phenomenon will cause an uproar from all cultural groups and institutions within the country. LEGAL AND LEGISLATIVE INFLUENCE