INFLUENCE OF OWNERSHIP ON PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISM PRACTICE IN NIGERIA A STUDY OF EBBC, EBONYI AND DREAM FM, ENUGU
The mass media have continued to be at the epicenter of information dissemination and distribution. The power wielded by professional journalists and media professionals in any society can be enormous; this why media operations and professional journalism practice have constantly witnessed many undue repressions, interferences, and in many occasions, controls from media owners and government. The reality of this phenomenon is that, the practices of journalism and media objectivity are continually called into question. Therefore, in order to clearly spell out the effect of ownership influence, this study ventures into assessing the effects of ownership on professional journalism practice in Nigeria, comparing such effect on private (Dream FM, Enugu) and public owned media (EBBC Ebonyi) houses. The population of this study was derived from the two state and the sample (385) was generated using the Australian calculator. Survey and in-depth interview were used to gather data in this study. The findings revealed that 299 respondents representing 77.7% of the sample size admitted that they noticed differences in the stations’ programme presentation. Also, 330, representing 85.7% of the sample size believed ownership influence on the two stations is high, to find out whether dream FM and EBBC media professionals enjoy same amount of editorial freedom, 322 or 83.6% respondents believed that there exist discrepancies in the level of freedom enjoyed in the private and government stations. The study further revealed that media professionals are under owners’ whims, majority representing 83.1% support this claim. In order to reduce ownership influence and control, the study suggested that media operations should democratized, the liberalization of media operations should be enforced through streamlining the FOIA; encouragement of social responsibility and media regulatory bodies are to ensure strict compliance to the ethical codes guiding media operations.