Mass Media and National Integration: An Examination of the Nigerian Press-1960-1983

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Oluwajuyitan, J.
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University of Lagos
This study investigates the role of the press in the multidimensional and intractable problem of national integration which has remained a major feature of the political process of contemporary third world countries in general and Nigeria in particular. It has done this through an examination of the coverage by the Nigerian press of issues that are potentially disintegrative in the period between 1960 and 1963. Thus study is undertaken against the background of a good theoretical position that underlined the salience of communication to the integrative process as against the traditional conception of the press as a watchdog. Chapter one defines the problem and justifies the need to focus on it. It also defines the scope and objective as well as the methodology of the study. Chapter two is the literature review and this examined in detail the relationship between communication, politics and integration. Attempt is also made to blend the various insights with a view to examining the extent to which current communication practices have contributed to national integration or national disintegration, it also attempts to see the salience of horizontal primordial cleavages and vertical class cleavages as intervening variables in the relationship between communication and national integration. Chapter three provides the background to subsequent chapters by outlining the history and character of newspaper focused upon in the study. The chapter traces the origin of the Nigerian Newspaper press to the missionary press that emerged in the middle of the 19th century. It outlines the changes in the press under the colonial rule, emigre blacks and later local sites. It also describes the nationalist press and the nuance in the texture of the newspapers under civilian and military regimes in the post independence period. The chapter shows the highly visible political role that the Nigerian Newspapers have played in the nation’s history in order that the role with regard to national integration could be further placed in context. Chapter four is an empirical analysis of factors and forces with regard to issues that have implications for national integration. In view of the fact that the politics of distribution is equally crucial to national integration given its implications for intra-group, inter-group and pan-group interactions, emphasis is placed on the press coverage of distributive politics as exemplified by the census crises of 1963 and 1973 and debates on revenue allocation and federal character. The involvement of the press was discovered to be a function of proprietal, regional and ethnic consideration. Chapter five examines the press during the period that preceded the plunge into civil war from 1967 to 1976 while chapter six outlines the role played by the newspapers in elections and explains why the imperative of media ownership as a major factor in determining this role. Chapter seven is a quantitative assessment of the extent to which the press in the period under consideration performed integrative role. The chapter also sought to test the five hypotheses propounded at the beginning of the study. Chapter eight which is the conclusion outlines the extent to which hypotheses and assumptions have been validated. The chapter confirms a failure to share experiences and therefore a failure of communication which in itself resulted partly from the disposition of the political elites and objective social and political milieu of the Nigerian political process which encourages a winner takes all mentally and also the need for elite engineering that can change elite from ethnic spokespersons to nationalistic Nigerians that will be less prone to using the communication media to pursue parochial and sectional ends.
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Mass Media , National Integration , Nigerian Press
Oluwajuyitan, J. (1989). Mass Media and National Integration: An Examination of the Nigerian Press-1960-1983. A Dissertation Submitted to the Department of Political Sciences, University of Lagos, in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the award of the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Degree in Political Science of the University of Lagos, Nigeria.