COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE ROLE OF GATE KEEPING IN GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE MEDIA

comparative analysis of the role of gate keeping in government and private media

ABSTRACT

The study was to assess the gate keeping functions of the two media ownership in Nigeria (Government and Private media) and to highlight their points of differences.

In doing this, two media, the Radio Nigeria, Enugu and the Cosmo Fm Enugu were surveyed as a case study in which wide differences in their gate-keeping pattern were discovered.  These difference were supported by the four hypotheses which were formulated for the study and which states that there is a difference in the gate keeping pattern between the two, that privately owned media are more objective in news reporting and news presentation; that there are more stages of news control in the government owned media than in the privately owned media and that privately owned media exercise greater freedom in their gate keeping functions than the government owned media.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1  BACKGROUNG OF THE STUDY GATE KEEPING          1 – 3

1.2  COMPARISON BETWEEN PRIVATE AND

GOVERNMENT OWNED MEDIA                                             4

1.3  THE RADIO NIGERIA AS A DEPENDENT

GOVT. OWNED MEDIA.                                                        4 – 6

1.4  THE COSMO FM ENUGU AS A PRIVATELY OWNED MEDIA.                                                                     6 – 8

1.5  STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM                              9

1.6   OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY                                                  9 – 10

1.7   SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY                                            10

1.8   RESEARCH QUESTIONS                                                         10

1.9   RESEARCH HYPOLTHESIS                                             11 – 12

1.10       CONCEPTIONAL AND OPERATIONAL

DEFINITION OF GATE KEEPING CONCEPTUAL           12

1.11       ASSUMPTION                                                                        13

1.12       LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY                                   13 – 14

REFERENCE                                                                           15

CHAPTER TWO

REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

2.1    SOURCE OF LITERATURE                                                     16

2.2    THE REVIEW                                                                     16 – 36

2.3    SUMMARY OF LITERATURE REVIEW                                37

REFERENCE                                                                       38 – 39

CHAPTER THREE

3.1    RESEARCH METHODOLOGY                                           40

3.2    RESEARCH DESIGN                                                     40 – 41

3.3    RESEARCH SAMPLE                                                            41

3.4    MEASURING INSTRUMENT                                               42

3.5    DATA COLLECTION                                                             42

3.6    EXPECTED RESULTS                                                    42 – 43

REFERENCE                                                                            44

CHAPTER FOUR

DATA ANLYSIS AND RESULT

4.1    DATA ANALYSIS                                                            45 – 56

4.2    RESULT                                                                             57 – 58

4.3    DISCUSSION                                                                     59 – 60

CHAPTER FIVE

SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDTION

FOR FUTHER STUDY

5.1    SUMMARY                                                                     61 – 62

5.2    RECOMMENDATION FOR THE STUDY                    62 – 63

REFERENCE                                                                    64 – 66

BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                             67 – 69

QUESTIONNAIRE                                                            70 – 79

CHAPTER ONE  INTRODUCTION

1.1  BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY- GATE KEEPING

The term gate keeping was first used by an Austrian Psychologist Kurt Lewis who used it to refer to a person or group of persons who govern “the travel of news items in communication channel” the gatekeeper he defined as any person or formally organized group directly involved in relaying and transferring information from one person to another through a mass medium.

As journalism becomes a profession with an expanding scope instead of a sideline for the enterprising printer: the media began to engage more hands in their processing and governing of news travel. They also began to give the audience what they had selected in the midst of so many events which where considered news worthy based on the news selected criteria such as timeliness, human interest, prominence, consequence and proximity.

The gatekeeper was at every stage, determining what the audience saw and heard from these media. They had the power to focus attention on some events and ideas rather than other. This was the reason, white (1964) remarked that the editor “in his position as a gatekeeper sees to it that the community shall hear as a fact only those events which the newsman believe to be true” The mass media select and publicize numerous events such as birthday, speeches, trips, suicides, meetings, crimes etc to shape our image and perception of the world.

The typical gatekeeper’s cha in a modern electronic media house would comprise the reporter, the chief editor, and the controller of news, manager news and the production editor. However, the above arrangement applies to the Radio Nigeria (FRCN) Enugu, even though the positions might assume different names in other media organizations. The above-mentioned people will have to work with other gatekeepers such as the typist, proofreaders, etc to determine what is publishable as news.

The gatekeepers of news not only tries to identify but also keep the public informed by sieving the news from non-news and selecting majors events in the interest of his audience or as permitted by his own prejudice. The audience in the later uses makes their choice of what they expose themselves to through selective exposure. The need for gatekeepers to always have their audience in mind in their news selecting process was emphasized in the argument of Douglas C. Covert (1985 p 133-136) who stated “the visual compositions which please the makers may not be as acceptable to view as in commonly as assumed. This word entail that while journalists perform their function of the surveillance of the environment, socialization, educating of their audience and cultural transmission, journalists themselves would see their jobs as the echoing of every thing, rather than be at core for things.

1.2   A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF GATEKEEPING IN

GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE OWNED MEDIA

Before doing a comparative analysis of the gate keeping procedure between the two forms of media ownerships, it is necessary to understand the criteria and philosophies of these media that guides our comparison. It is believed that this enable us understand why the government owned media. The RADIO NIGERIA Enugu, perform its  keeping function quite differently from a privately owned media the COSMO FM Enugu.

1.3    THE RADIO NIGERIA AS A DEPENDENT GOVERNMENT

OWNED MEDIA

From its inception, the electronic media industry had been established to cater for the pleasure of entertaining and informing the colonial masters. It distributed from Lagos through the rediffusion sets, educative, informative programmed from the British Broadcasting co-operation (BBC) London. Apart from performing the above-mentioned functions, it is also a vital tool in running the government activities and serve to protect the interest of the day government.

Progressively as the Nigeria Broadcasting service (NBC) took over the rediffusion services which was later to be transformed into regional radio station such as the Western Nigeria Broadcasting services (WNBS), Radio/Television Kaduna and Eastern Nigerian broadcasting. These stations remained government as their funding come directly from the government and this dependency mark the beginning of their control by the government.

‘The (RADIO NIGERIA) Enugu as a government owned media still works according to the role of protecting and serving as the mouthpiece of the government. This is because as the saying goes, “that he who pays the piper dictates the tune”, RADIO NIGERIA must always strike to the dictates the government in power if it must render its services. Since the concept of freedom of gate keeping has been mortgaged by the financial dependency of these media on government, it does not broadcast anti-government in its various mobilization campaigns in their news. At times,, it goes further to do special reports to highlight problem area for government view on                                                                                                         specific issues. When it tied to report serious matters retraining the government, it did so in such a way that they do not convey the same amount of urgency and seriousness as reported by the privately owned media in such cases. The news reported by the government media (RADIO NIGERIA) Enugu, lack completed accuracy, fairness and objectivity. It becomes mere propaganda agents for the savaging of the image of the government media as Radio Nigeria makes the                                                                                                 understanding of government activities different since what it puts forward as news was (is) no news.

1.4  THE COSMO FM ENUGU AS A PRIVATELY OWNED

MEDIA

Contrary to what seemed like a government monopoly of the broadcasting media overtime, the need for balance reportage and flexibility in programming brought the privately owned media into existence. In 1992, the federal military government under General Ibrahim Babagida regime passed a decree allowing private individual participation in the ownership of electronic media.

The aim being to fill the gap in government owned media reportage and also to generate profit reward for the financier’s enterprise, the privatization gave birth to establishment of private media house such as Minaj System Radio/Television, Cosmo FM, African Independent Television (AIT), Ray power 100.5pm etc mention but few.

Unlike the Radio Nigeria, which is owned and controlled by the government, Cosmo FM operation is independent of the government. The government does not determine the programs that are carried on this medium and because if this relative freedom, it is possible for it to comment critically and more objectivity on government matters that media owned by the government. This forms the base for the audience greater confidence in the privately owned media strive at in their gate keeping process which is public confidence as means to retain them.

Another area where the radio Nigeria Enugu differs in its gate keeping from the Cosmo is in the aspect of national crises reportage, Radio Nigeria tried to be less keen in reporting the October 22nd2005, Belleview plane clash and June 12, 1993 crisis but Cosmo and Minaj system television (MST) did better in carrying such news. At the radio Nigeria gate keeping begin with the head of state and the minister of information before we come down to their reporter, the chief editor, the controller of news, manager news, the production editor and the typist who work closely in the gatekeeper’s chain to determine what is aired as news.

On the other hand, as the Cosmo gate keeping starts with the financiers who may instruct his staff to check the coverage or non-coverage of certain programs. The objective of profit making seriously limits the change of all kind of news going on the screen since the organization has to achieve credibility among its audience foe commercial profit. While sanction on the privately media comes inform of revocation of licenses and closure of the private media hoses the government owned media comes in nature of supervisor or total sack of editors.

1.5     STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM

There have been difference in opinion that the gate keeping process in the government owned media differs considerably from that of privately owned media. While some believe that the government owned media take greater interest in some major issues especially those affecting the government, others are of the opinion that privately owned media take greater interest and report more objectively on news events. These assertions are going to be resolved after proper analysis of research data to find out the truth of either of the two statements.

1.6  OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

1.    The purpose of this study is to find whether there is really a difference in the gate-keeping pattern of the government and privately owned media organization.

2.    The study will also take a look at the two forms of media ownership (government and private) take up the responsibility of informing, and educating the masses. This will then help to direct the audience attention towards a better and reliable media.

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