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The power of the mass media to set a nations agenda, to focus public attention on a few

key public issues, is an immense and well-documented influence. Not only do people acquire

factual information about public affairs from the mass media, readers and viewers also learn how

much importance to attach to a topic on the basis of the emphasis placed on it in the news.

Newspapers provide a host of cues about the salience of the topics in the daily news lead story

on page one, other front page display, large headlines, etc. Television news also offers numerous

cues about salience the opening story on the newscast, length of time devoted to the story, etc.

These cues repeated day after day effectively communicate the importance of each topic. In other

words, the mass media can set the agenda for the publics attention to that small group of issues

around which public opinion forms. To emphasize this point, Obaze and Ogbiti (2004), quoting

Thomas Jeffersons write up in 1823 stated:The press is the best instrument for enlightening the

minds of man and improving him as a rational, moral and social being.

The principal outlines of this influence were also sketched by Walter Lippmann (1922), in

his literature, Public Opinion, which began with a chapter titled The World Outside and the

Pictures in Our Heads. As he noted, the mass media are a primary source of those pictures in

our heads about the larger world of public affairs, a world that for most citizens is out of reach,

out of sight, out of mind. What we know about the world is largely based on what the media

decide to tell us. More specifically, the result of this mediated view of the world is that the
priorities of the media strongly influence the priorities of the public. Elements prominent on the

media agenda become prominent in the public mind.

Social scientists examining this agenda-setting influence of the mass media on the public

usually have focused on public issues. The agenda of a news organization is found in its pattern

of coverage on public issues over some period of time, a week, a month, an entire year. Over this

period of time, whatever it might be, a few issues are emphasized, some receive light coverage,

and many are seldom or never mentioned. It should be noted that the use of term agenda here

is purely descriptive. There is no pejorative implication that a news organization has an agenda

that it relentlessly pursues as a premeditated goal. The media agenda presented to the public

results from countless day-to-day decisions by many different journalists and their supervisors

about the news of the moment.

The public agenda the focus of public attention is commonly assessed by public

opinion polls that ask some variation of the long-standing Gallup Poll question, What is the

most important problem facing this country today?.

Comparisons of the media agenda in the weeks preceding these opinion polls measuring

the public agenda yield significant evidence of the public service and agenda-setting role of the

mass media. When Chapel Hill, North Carolina, voters were asked to name the most important

issues of the day in the very first empirical study of this agenda-setting influence their

responses closely reflected the pattern of news coverage during the previous month in the mix of

newspapers, network television news, and news magazines available to them. Since that initial

study during the 1968 U.S. presidential election, more than 300 hundred published studies

worldwide have documented this influence of the news media.

It is not different in developing countries as well as in Nigeria. The influence of the mass

media in moulding the opinion of the Nigerian public and creating positive reaction towards

public service cannot be quantified. The mass media in Nigeria from the onset has been used for

this purpose. The first newspaper that was established by a Presbyterian (Iwe Iroyin Fun Awon

Egba ati Yoruba) in 1859 was set up for this cause. It was meant for the emancipation of the

inhabitants of the environs where it was established both physically from the shackles of slavery

and psychologically from ignorance. As time went by, this function included political awareness

as well as the bid to inspire the people to collectively fight for a right for self-governance. It

became the major power house of political propaganda and electioneering campaigns. It was

used as the mighty gun that was used to fight for the emancipation of Nigeria from slavery

and then from the colonial masters. The first political party that was formed (Nigerian National

Democratic Party (NNDP)) by Herbert Macaulay in 1922 was not formed without the help of a

press. This pattern followed until Nigeria got her independence. Politician during the era all

operated or were linked to a press. For example, Chief ObafemiAwolowo had the Nigerian

Tribune that was powering his political party- Action Group in the west. The east did not

overlooked this pattern as Dr. NnamdiAzikiwe also used the the West Afrrican Pilot to pilot the

objectives of his political party, National Congress of Nigerians and Cameroon, NCNC. Did the

north follow suit? Of course, they did. Sir Ahmadu Bello had the GaskiyaTafi Kwabo which was,

at the time, informing the northerners of the objectives of the Nigeria People Congress, NPC.

(Obaze and Ojo 2011).


The influence of the mass media in moulding public opinion and public service cannot be over-

emphasized. The role of mass media in changing the attitudes of the public towards government

and government policies has been demonstrated on countless occasions in the sense that it

transfers messages that encourages societal development and integration to the public.

Sometimes, most politicians use the mass media as a medium to trade falsehood and propaganda

(especially government owned media) to the electorates.

Due to the centralization of media organization in the urban areas in Nigeria, rural dwellers are

sometimes left in the hand of the opinion leaders who sometimes use propaganda techniques to

lure the rural dwellers into acting blindly in times of crucial decision making.


This study is generally aimed at finding out how the mass media in a developing country moulds

and shapes the opinion of the public and influences public service. Specifically, the study hopes


Find out the quality of reportage given to certain specific development communication in some

Nigerian mass meow they mould the publics opinion.

Determine the frequency of coverage given to some of the developmental events in the Nigerian

mass media and h.

Determine the methods these newspapers used in gathering information in writing these reports.

Determine the direction/slant or tone of these reports

Find out the level of prominence given to specific political conflicts in some Nigerian


Determine the story types in which the reporting of these specific events appeared most often.


The following research questions have been designed to guide the study:

1. To what extent does mass media influence public opinion and public service in Nigeria?

2. Which part of the society has been influenced so far by the mass media?

3. With what programs or how does the Nigerian mass media carry out its public agenda


4. What factors hinders the mass media from carrying out its agenda-setting functions in Nigeria.


In any democratic society, the significant role of the mass media industry in influencing the

actions of the masses cannot be overstated. People look up to the mass media for direction and

they see it as a medium to determine what is right and what should be seen as wrong. In the light

of the above, the study of the influence of the mass media on public opinion and public service

becomes imperative for every educated and uneducated public in a society.

The mass media helps to mirror socio-cultural activities of the society and how these activities

affects the society in areas such as economic, political, education, cultural and social values. It

encourages and helps the public to understand the government and how to put them on check.

This study will therefore be important to government, civil servants, journalists, editors,

publishers, research students and also those that will like to carry further research on this field,

thereby creating the desired knowledge and understanding of the effectiveness of the film




To be able to look deeply on the concept of public opinion and how the mass media influences it,

there is a need to answer the question, what is public opinion? Public opinion is a sum total of

the ideas, feelings, attitudes, thoughts of a large segment of a public on an issue of public

interest. Gambo and Momoh (2012:p.34) see public opinion as;

the sum total of the thinking, beliefs, illusions, views, behavior, and
attitudes of members of the public towards an issue of public
interest. Public opinion is connected with the way members of the
public sees a particular issue.
The media are a collective means of communication by which the general public or

populace is kept informed about the day to day happenings in the society. To emphasize this,

Obaze and Ogbiti (2004:p.2), siting Daramola (1997:1) stated that:without communication,

human existence probably would have been meaningless; and modern nations probably cannot

exist without it.

The media are said to be an aggregation of all communication channels that use

techniques of making direct personal communication between the communicator and the public

(Asemah, Edegoh, and Ogwo, 2013).

When ideas, feelings, messages, information, etc are passed from a source to a large

number of intended receivers with the aid of machines or media devices, it is called mass


Head (1972:105) takes a comprehensive look at mass communication when he said, "

though used rather loosely, the team 'mass communication' usually implies to five elements;

relatively large audiences, relatively undifferentiated audience composition, some form of

message reproduction, rapid distribution, and low unit cost per consumer". He also gave what he

calls a working definition. He stated, "mass communication means approximately simultaneous

delivery of identical messages by high speed reproduction and distribution to relatively large and

undifferentiated number of people.

Mass communication, unlike intra-personal, interpersonal, group, and public

communication, does not usually originate 'message' or communication (McQuail 1987:53).

Mass communication, therefore, involves mediated form of communication. It involves a group

of people using mechanical means to send and receive messages. It can also mean people

directing information and ideas to a large and diversified audience through the use of mass media

vehicles such as radio, television and the press (Daramola 2003)

Mass communication is broadly divided into print and broadcast. The broadcast media

involve the use electronic devices to send electromagnetic waves which carry information to a

large heterogeneous, anonymous, and scattered audience who receives the information or

messages simultaneously. Umolu (2014), citing Egbon (1991) says; broadcasting is the

transmission of radio and television signals to a wide heterogeneous audience. Broadcasting

majorly utilizes the television and radio devices.

The "print media" is also associated with the word "press". They are usually interchanged

when they are used although the press literally means a printing machine or factory (Daramola,

2003). But it has been used to widely mean a collection of all publications such as journals,

newspapers, magazines, books, pamphlets, posters, letters, and any other printed matter. We

generally term newspaper, books, magazines, advertising billboard and posters as well as public

relations publication as genres of the print media. Obaze and Ogbiti (2006, pg; 4).

The newspapers feed the public with information that they ought to know. It is one of the

most used in most developed and developing countries. Nigeria is not an exception. Daramola

(2003:p. 95) made this point clear when he articulated that:

Newspapers and magazines are living media of mass

communication. They are the most versatile and resilient of all
media of mass communication.
Hynds (1972) sums up the newspaper in the following words: "at the beginning, the

newspaper was society's primary instrument of Mass communication and till today the logbook

of human affairs than any other means of communication. It was, for a long time, the chief

instrument by which people learnt from each other, debate the problem which trouble them, and

spoke their minds on public issues". Today, however, it shares the function of the mass media

with television, radio, and magazines.

However, the print and the broadcast media actively take part in forming the agenda of

the public, they are also a power source through which the public is controlled, policies are

formed, government decisions are made and assessed. Obaze and Ogbiti citing Umechukwu

(1998) say;

They are a power source, a means of control, management

and innovation in the society which can be a substitute for
force. They could convince, persuade, coerce, intimidate,

etc they provide locations (arenas or channels) where
public affairs are played nationally and internationally.


The Television:

The television is an audio visual devise that combines sight and sounds to create and send

messages which appeals to the eyes and ears- the messages are audiovisual in nature. This aspect

of the television makes it more believable and captivating. The audiences are able to see in a

more practical sense what is told them and this appeal more to their senses and mind of the


The birth of television in Nigeria came as a result of a strife and disagreement between

the then colonial Governor General of Nigeria state and Chief Obafemi Awolowo. The governor

had made controversial statements about the chief on air, but when chief Awolowo demanded

equal air time to respond to the statements made by the governor, he was denied. As a result of

this, when Television was included in the concurrent list, he wasted no time in establishing what

came to be the pioneer of television stations in Nigeria.

Therefore, the forerunner of television stations in Nigeria is the Western Nigeria

Television (WNTV) which established in 1959 by Chief Obafemi Awolowo in Abeokuta. This

television station is presently the presently the National Television Authority (NTA). It became

the major source of information and agenda molding tool for the people of that environment at

that time. The WNTV took active part in educating, entertaining and informing the people in

political issues, news happenings and socio-cultural trends around them. Umolu(2011:p.6)

summarized the history of television thus:

Television broadcasting in Nigeria was a child of circumstance

born in controversy. The political development of Nigeria between
1952 and 1959 contributed immensely to its birth. The forerunner
of television in Nigeria, the Western Nigeria Television (WNTV)
was born out of political dissension. In 1952, the Macpherson
constitution was in traduced by Richard Macpherson constitution,
the then colonial Governor General of Nigeria which was
vehemently criticized by Obafemi Awolowo. He was criticized the
Governor General on NBC. Chief obafemin Awolowo demanded
equal time reply the Governors reproach. He was denied. So when
broadcasting was transferred to the concurrent or residual
legislative list in 1954 after a heated agitation, Chief Obafemi
Awolowo, the then Premier of Western Region waste no time in
establishing the WNTV which came in 1959.
The Radio

Radio service in Nigeria was born in 1932 and 1935 when the British government

contracted the Radio Distribution Service (RDS) and the Post and Telegraph Company (P&T) in

London to overseas Rediffusion Company. During this time, receiving boxes were created in

some part of the country like Ibadan, Ijebu-Ode, Calabar, Port Harcourrt, Enugu, Kano, Kaduna,

Jos and Zaria where people subscribe to and get radio services from studios through landlines.

However, on 1st of April, 1951, the federal government established an indigenous broadcasting

service. The redistribution facilities were converted into full fledged radio stations. This

eventually formed the nuclei of the Nigeria Broacasting service in 1952. (Umolu 2011)

The Newspaper

The newspaper came in to Nigeria at the time when it is mostly needed. It came at a time

of political, educational, infrastructural ignorance was at its peak in the regions. The firs

newspaper to be established in Nigeria is the Iwe Irohin fun awon Egba ati Yoruba in Abeokuta

by Rev. Henry Townsend, a clergyman of the Church Missionary Society faith. Daramola(2003).

After this other newspaper publications followed, such as Angelo Africa (1862)by Robert

Campbell, the Lagos Times and Gold Coast Advertizer (1890 by Richard Blaize and others that

came after. Obaze and Ojo(2011). The newspaper came and served as the splint that sparked up

the development and emancipation of Nigerians from the Colonial slave market. It did this

through an effective enlightenment campaign and stron positive opinion molding.

Functions of Media in the Society

Though there are two main functions of mass communication, which are overt and latent

functions of communication, six specific functions of the mass media could be identified here.

These are:

1. Surveillance of the environment. This is the collection and distribution of information within

and outside a particular environment;

2. Correlation of parts of the society: This includes the interpretation of the information, the

prescription of conduct and, the comment on social value;

3. Transmission of social heritage. By communicating information through the mass media we

are transmitting social and cultural values, which aim at sustaining the society;

4. Educating the masses. Education on the policies of governments and on the rights and

responsibilities could be carried out through the mass media;

5. Entertainment function. The mass media also entertain the public by providing emotional

relaxation, intrinsic and cultural enjoyment (i.e. provision of momentary escape from problems)

and killing boredom; and

6. Mobilization function. This function of the mass media is very important to developing

communities everywhere. It seeks to bring the people together and helps to advance national


It could be seen from the foregoing functions that the media provide information and

education, personal identity, entertainment and most importantly, integration and social

interaction, by giving insight into the circumstances of others and helping with the development

of social empathy.


Agenda - Setting Theory

The role of the mass media in setting agenda cannot be over stated. The theory implies

that the mass media pre-determine what issues are regarded as important at a given time in a

given society. The theory does not ascribe to the media the power to determine what we actually

think; but it does ascribe to them the power to determine what we are thinking about. They set

the Agenda for political campaign, Economy, Socialization, Correlation, Education,

Transmission of cultural, Entertainment, information and social arrangement. The agenda theory

plans, organizes projects while the social responsibility theory; disseminate the function of the

media. Ojo (2010: p10) in a bid to support this stated that:

Feelings and emotions are formed through socialization. Attitudes

can be formed from what we see, hear, or belief or participate in
while growing up. On reception of the message on an issue, there
are initial reactions like expression of sentiments of like or dislike.
One then informs, discusses, and debates the issue with friends,
colleagues and family members. Points raised are weighed,
balanced and articulated (sometimes, through the mass media).this
leads to formation of attitudes on the issue at stake.

The element involved in agenda setting includes the quantity or frequency of reporting, as

regards prominence, given to the reports through headline display, picture and layout in

newspaper, magazines, film, graphics or during radio and television broadcast. The degree of

conflict generated in reports and cumulative media specific effects over time. In addition to

politics and elections, research on agenda- setting later focused on racial unrest, student riots,

crime spastics, inflection, drug abuse etc. Additional example that could furnish relevant research

materials in Nigeria includes the June 12 military intervention, 419, and assassination. Lang

(1960:p127) as cited in Kayode (2012:p107) further draw attention to important factors in

Agenda setting, such as the reciprocal effect, concerned with the very presence of the media at

the scene of an event and the land slide effect which refer to the (usually exaggerated)

impression created by the kind of media handling or reporting waving crowd, ovation thriving.

Kunczik (1995:p34) points that: the appropriate procedures for examining agenda setting involve

comparisons between media content over a certain period and the subject that most people in the

society are discussing. The greater the consonance the more the Agenda-setting hypothesis, but it

is generally agreed that it has a strong enough basis in logic and understanding.

According to the dictionary of mass communication by Ike (2003:p5) the idea developed

in Macomb and Shaw (1992:p49). The theory states, the media determines the important placed

upon particular issues. The agenda-setting function can be achieved in news casting by the size

of appearance, choice of words and length of coverage.

The agenda setting theory had helped to reverse the subsisting society prejudice that

persons appointed to conduct election in Nigeria are always all in all, instruments of a hidden

agenda. McComb and Shaws agenda-setting theory found an appreciative audience among mass

communication researchers. The prevailing selective exposure hypothesis claimed that, people

would attend only to news and views that didnt threaten their established beliefs. The media

were set as merely stroking pre-existent attitudes after many decade of downplaying the

influence of newspaper, magazine, radio, and television, the field was disenchanted with this

limited effects approach it re-affirmed the power of the press while still maintaining that

individuals were free to choose.

The theory rises or falls on its ability to show a match between the medias agenda and

the publics agenda. McComb and Shaws supported their main hypothesis with results from

surveys they took while working together at the inversely of North corroding in Chapel Hill. The

study provides an opportunity to examine in detail, the type of quantitative survey research that

Stuart Hall and other critical theorists so strongly oppose. McComb and Shaw believe that the

hypothesized agenda-setting function of the media is responsible for the almost perfect

correlation they found between the media and public ordering of priorities.

Positive Impact of Media on the Public Opinion

Positive Impact: The media serves the society by highlighting the prevalence of such ills

as nepotism, cronyism and corruption in institutions and by carrying on relentless campaign

against them. It has been instrumental in bringing an end to the oppressive regimes of cruel

rulers. It has unearthed political scandals, kickbacks received by highly placed men. Heinous

crimes have been exposed due to active role of media. It was the media which exposed a greater

percentage of the corruption cases that we have witnessed in Nigeria. Moreover, editors and

writers of articles expose the excessiveness of men and power. They serve the society by

ensuring justice to those victimized by the government machinery.

The power of media, particularly the visual media is awful. No one, howsoever powerful

he may be, can effectively combat it. The renowned singer Michael Jackson, after undergoing the

humiliating ordeal of child molestation charges against him, aptly asserts the power of media

thus: the incredible, terrible mass media. Nobody can deny the power of media. The media is

so powerful that it can instantly mould public opinion, bring far-reaching policy reversals of

governments, and even push little known personalities into seats of power after boosting their

election prospects with the most effective use of its image-making.

The media serve the society through its watchdog-type function. The media has the

capacity to hold governments accountable, forcing them to explain their actions and decisions,

all of which affect the people they represent. While the media has historically been viewed as

being overly aggressive and insatiable in its plight for the latest and hottest news, its function as

a watchdog is essential in a democratic society where people must know what their governments

are doing.

Negative Impact of Media on the Public Opinion

There is no denying the fact that with its biased and motivated coverage, the media

sometimes does much harm than good to international relations and national peace and harmony.

The advent of press freedom appears to have given rise to unprecedented abuse of the media by

unscrupulous mass communicators and authoritarian leaders in society. This potential for

mischief is attributed to the fact that media is controlled by media barons, corporate giants,

industrial houses and government wielding dictatorial powers. Often, the media lords use the

power of media to serve their own ends which are always at odds with humanitarian

considerations at times leading to fuel fires of hatred, strife and anarchy, instead of spreading the

message of love and brotherhood.

Those media men seeking short-cut to name and fame act for them, neglecting the

sanctity of their profession. Sometimes media persons work hand in glove with political

leadership, bureaucrats and other influential persons. Naturally, their write-ups and editorials are

motivated. Through their write-ups, they justify all acts of mission and commission of their

patrons. This is particularly discernible in the editorials of several newspapers and magazines.

The media men, in fact, try to please their patrons and lords.

The glamorous lifestyle of celebrities and pomp and show served by the media is causing

great erosion in social norms and moral values. The younger generations being encouraged by

the stunning luxuries of film villains and their varied methods of collecting wealth, resort to

some evil methods, often fall prey to criminal tendencies and get increasingly brutalized. In their

quest for such life, they sometimes come into contact with anti-social and anti-national elements.

Thus, instead of doing well to society, they themselves are lost in darkness. In a way it causes

loss of human resources to society as well.

Furthermore, the portrayal of women in media, to some extent, is responsible for

increasing violence against them. The scenes of atrocities and torture against women are very

common in film and TV. Here, the woman is atrociously portrayed as an object of entertainment,

required to dance, sing, expose her body part and vanish. Scenes of indecency on the part of

women are almost mandatory in films, musical videos and fashion magazine. This is pictured in

such a manner that they arouse the excitement in the viewers. Besides, scenes of gruesome

killing and vulgar dialogues are integral part of visual media. All these are contributing to the

moral downfall of society

The media to some extent has deviated from its path of avowed impartiality and clean

journalism. They often indulge in petty means to gain material benefits, i.e. to boost their sales.

At times, what most papers give their readers is simply sensation-creating stuff. They publish

stories about the private life of celebrities and obscene photographs. There is a circulation war

among various newspapers.

To emerge as winner they involve in mean activities. Indeed media has lost its sense of

moral responsibility. In the past, media was considered champion of the rights of the oppressed

and principles of morality and justice. They worked for some noble causes. Now newspapers

give doctored news analysis to influence the minds of the readers.

Even the film makers mistakenly assume that the society does not have the ability to

understand quality movies and end up producing only bizarre movies. Dont you think that a

biased media, who think that our people do like a particular kind of news and films, misguide us?

Do any of these media add any value to the growth of our nation? Are they not making us debate

on gossips and silly things when there are a lot of real issues?



Lack of Media independence

This is one of the greatest constraints on the mass media in the performance of their role

in a fledgling democracy like ours. One cardinal value cherished by journalists everywhere has

to do with the need for news content of the media to be the responsibility of professional

journalist. Thus, although media owners should exercise their constitutional right to own,

establish and operate mass media without interference, they should accept that the content of

news is one, which as professional journalist must decide. Momoh (2000:p28), Excessive

control of the print media and media content by media owners, particularly state governments,

greatly undermines the credibility of the media, and derives journalists their rights to functions as

true professionals. In this regard, many Nigerians have had cause to complain. The media are

the defenders of the status quo... They also make prominent certain issues thus giving them

priority, which may be undue. Example of such topics given prominence is: first lady syndrome,

governor and their deputies (Esan, 2000:p32). It is common knowledge that most government

owned media in Nigeria cannot perform the crucial function of serving as societys watchdogs

concerning governments errors of omission and commission, because they lack the courage to

bite the hand that feeds them; so to say, the common scenario is for most of such media to resort

to sycophancy.

Sycophancy is excessive praise, which is usually largely underserved. This unethical

conduct places the media in double jeopardy vis--vis their functions in a democracy. They can

neither provide the truthful information needed by the citizens nor can they serve as match dogs

to make government accountable to the citizens. Okunna (2003: p12) explain this double

calamity for democracy. In the area of sycophancy and the medias watchdog role, she says:

(One) Negative influence of sycophancy is that it leads to

dereliction of duty on the part of the recipient of the false praise.
When people in authority are flattered by the same institution (the
press) whose duty it is to objectively appraise the performance of
such people, they are deceived by such flattery and fail to realize
that they are not discharging their duties as required by the
positions of authority they occupy. Even when they realize that
they are not doing well, they are content to hide behind the
misinformation by the press, knowing that the public may be none
the wiser to their misdeeds.
Still writing about sycophancy and the role of the media to provide accurate information

to the citizens, Okunna (2003, p15) says:

Generally, sycophancy derives the public the correct thing to do. This
denial occurs because the sycophant journalist could twist facts,
falsify information, or indulge in sensationalism to promote the
interest of the person being flattered. As the game of praise singing
goes on. The journalist fails to do the job that needs to be gone, that
is, for the diverse informational and communication needs of the
public in a conscientious and responsible manner a failure that is a
betrayal of the trust, which the public places on the press to champion
public interest.

Inadequate preparation for the Job

The print media can effectively perform their role in democracy, only if true profession

also operates them. A professional is one who has been well equipped for his or her work,

through specialized educational preparation and the acquisition of a distinct body of knowledge.

In contemporary democratic Nigeria, there is the need for all journalists to acquire, through

formal journalism education in proper schools of mass communication, the necessary knowledge

and skills which they require to function as true professionals. The Nigeria press council Decree

has prescribed the minimum standards that must be attained before someone could become a

journalist in the country. The education content of this prescription should be fully enforced. Re-

training through workshops and seminars should also form an integral part of the education of

members of the profession. Jason (2000: p12) he says, The responsibilities of journalist is an

enormous one. This calls for constant training, re-training workshop and seminars,

Absence of an enabling environment

The environment within which the print media function in Nigeria is often not conducive

to the effective performance of the journalistic duties, necessary for democracy to thrive. Lack of

basic equipment and poor or completely absent remuneration for journalists are on incentives for

professionalism and ethical conduct. There is an urgent need for owners of the print media,

especially governments to strengthen the capacity of the media and the professionals who work

there. Capacity building in this regard should include the provision of up-to-date equipment and

adequate remunerations as and when due. It has often beer1 argued that many Nigerian

Journalists are unethical, because they are poor as a result of inadequate remuneration in their

jobs and are desperate enough to do anything to make money, no matter how irresponsible the

conduct might be. Stressing the need for adequate remunerations for journalists as a prerequisite

for ensuring responsible conduct among them, Adelusi (2000: p IX) says: The greatest problem

besetting Nigeria is living below the poverty line. Until the problem of poverty is seriously

addressed with concrete solutions, no constitution or core of ethics for that matter can adequately

discipline or regulate the conduct of journalists in Nigeria. It is when the problem of poverty is

over that the questions of codes of ethics will be meaningful, the constitution will be respected

and fakes will be adequately dealt with

Limited access to media at the Grassroots

Government policy needs to make provision for a wider variety of voice to make sure

that the quantity information required for the effective functioning of a democracy is made

available to all citizens irrespective of their environment. Community media especially

community raid station, should be established, particularly in rural and semi-urban areas. There

is no harm in empowering some departments of mass communication or schools of journalism

in universities and polytechnics to serve as the nuclei of some of such outfits, by assisting them

to construct well equipped radio studios and granting them licenses for community broad casting

and print organization.

Legal Constraint on the Mass Media

Another factor that hinders the Nigerian mass media in the carrying out of the duty in

molding public agenda is legal constraints. Not until recently has Nigeria enacted the Freedom of

Information Act (FOI) into law. Although this law has been enacted, it has no super power over

the chocking laws that have been a major hindrance in gathering and dissemination of

information function of the mass media which is meant to mold the opinion of the public.

Each society or system has ways or methods of regulating every sphere of it human

endeavour and especially and especially the mass media (Obaze and Ogbiti 2006). This means

that there are no absolutes in terms of regulation of the mass media in any country. Although the

First Amendment of the American Constitution clearly provided for freedom of information and

freedom of the press, the Nigerian society still made laws that weighed heavily on the press.

Some of the laws that are meant to gag the press, according to Obaze and Ogbiti (2006), include;

The Defamation Act of 1961, Obscene Publication Act of 1961, Children and Young persons

Harmful Publication Act of 1961, Official Secret Act of 1962, Seditious Publication Criminal

code of 1958; section 50 and 51, Criminal Defamation Cap 33 Sections 373-381, Contempt of

Court section 133 of the criminal Code, and Contempt of Court (Interpretation) Section 6 of the

Criminal Code. All these laws have served as hindrances to information gathering and

disseminating in the Nigerian mass media. Despite the introduction of the Freedom of

Information Act of 2011, there are still blockades that hinder the free movement of information

because the old laws are still active.



This chapter deals with the procedures which are adopted in the course of gathering data

and information for this study. It covers myriad of sources which includes; library researches,

journals, textbooks, interviews, internet, etc.

The primary source involves interviewing and seeking personal experience, geared

towards gathering of firsthand information from lecturers, journalists, and other knowledgeable

individuals on their views about the impact of the mass media on molding public opinion and

public service.

The secondary source made it possible for the use of various textbooks from the library,

read newspapers, journals and magazines as well as surf the internet for the gathering of relevant

information for this study. With obtained information, the researchers were able to cursorily view

what infringements in making references to other sub-topics and make relevant





This study has critically shown the relevance of the mass media in molding and

influencing public opinion and public service. Looking at the agenda setting theory of the mass

media, the researchers were able to show how the mass media influence and build opinion

thereby creating public service.

The research has also reviewed the history of the major media outlets in Nigeria and how

they influence and mold the opinion of the people of that era. It gave a brief account of how the

television came into existence as a result of discontentment during the era, the advent of the

radio service which became one of the major channel entertainment, information and education

in the country at the period till this very moment.

Also, this research work did not held back challenges the media faces in the bid to mold

public opinion and create public service. It highlighted some of the challenges ranging from lack

of media independence, inadequate preparation for the job, lack of enabling environment, laws

and so on. It gave adequate explanations of how these factors gag the mass media and thwart

their bid to mold an effective public opinion.

However this research is carried out using the secondary and primary methods (although the

questionnaire method was not utilized) of data collection. The primary method involved the

interview and discussion to gather firsthand information from lecturers, journalists and other

knowledgeable individuals while the secondary method involved the exploration of already

available written books and articles from the library, the internet, the newspapers, journals, etc.


Conclusively, studies from various books, interviews, journals, newspapers, magazines and

other materials from the internet and library has revealed that the mass media mold opinion and

encourages public service.

Considering the way the mass media has been used sin inception in Nigeria, it is

undoubtable that the mass media have been the major sores of the formation of attitude of the

Nigerian community in areas such as cultural sustenance and transmission, education,

enlightenment, political enlightenment and building the spirit of national integration and active

involvement in public service.


Base on the findings of this research, the following recommendations are made:

1. Government should provide assistance to the mass media since it has done so much in

influencing the mind of the public

2. Government should reduce the laws that tend to gag the mass media and thwart them in

their bid to mold public opinion thereby creating a suitable environment where there will

be free and effective interplay between the mass media and the public.

3. Media organization should focus more on finding new methods to adopt in the molding

of public opinion. They should harness new ways so as to make the effect of their

messages on public opinion more effective and positive.

4. Media organizations should also involve themselves in routine training of staffs and

journalists so as to keep them updated and fit to carry out their duty of molding public

opinion effectively.


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