AUDIENCE PERCEPTION OF NTA AND CHANNELS TV COVERAGE OF 2015 GENERAL ELECTIONS IN NIGERIA
Nigerian television audiences were puzzled by the way 2015 general election was covered by television stations in the country. The use of derogatory words, disparaging documentaries and series of allegations are some of the features that marked out media reportage of candidates and their political parties during the election. In the light of the foregoing, this study therefore, seeks to find out audience perception of NTA and Channels television coverage of the election. The study adopted survey research method and in-depth interview while questionnaire was used as instrument for data collection. Cochran’s (1963) statistical formula was used in drawing the sample for the study. The sample size for the study is three hundred and eighty-four (384). Probability sampling technique was adopted using multi-stage sampling method. The study finds out that audience were adequately exposed to NTA and Channels coverage of the 2015 general election. The research also shows that 43.2% of the respondents perceived Channels television coverage as excellent while 15.9% perceived NTA’s performance as excellent. The audience equally perceives Channels television to be objective to a very large extent (51.5%) while only (27.9%) perceived NTA to be objective to a very large extent. It was also discovered that 77.7% of the respondents were influenced by the coverage of the election, 51.7% of them to a very large extent and 62.1% voted during the election. There is therefore the need for political reporters in particular to be independent, ethical and be socially responsible while public media should be empowered to derive their funding from the consolidated account in order to stick to the principles of objectivity, balance and fairness.