Nigeria Government and Media
World Press Freedom Rank: Nigeria 120/180
Government Influence on Media: Nigeria is a federal republic composed of 36 states. Up until the nineties, The Media of Nigeria was directly controlled by the government as the government held the majority of ownership. At present, most of the press and the broadcasting sector are either directly state-owned, particularly Broadcast media such as The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Ogun State Television OGTV, which is owned by the Ogun State Government. However, media is also owned by prominent families and businesses, such as Nduka Obaigbena, publisher and owner of ThisDay Newspaper, and the Aboderin Family, owner of The Punch Newspaper, which is the most circulated in the country.
The National Broadcasting Commission is the broadcast regulator of Nigeria and has control over the licensing of Broadcasting media. According to the U.S State Department, the Nigerian government uses regulatory oversight to “restrict press freedom, notably clamping down on television and radio stations.” For example, according to a Guardian Nigeria article dated 2020, The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) fined Nigeria Info 99.3 FM (local radio station) “N5 million over a comment made by a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Obadiah Mailaifa on one of its programme.”
Both civil and criminal law regulates Libel Laws in Nigeria, and it is criminalized under the Criminal Code and the Criminal Defamation Act. Furthermore, corruption is the main challenge Media faces in Nigeria as the government in Nigeria often rounds up journalists for exposing corruption. In 2018, the MacArthur Foundation gave $6.3 million in grants “to Advance Accountability and Transparency and Reduce Corruption in Nigeria, through support for independent media, journalism.” For example, Sahara Reporters based in New York is one of the Grant recipients, and another one is OYA Media.
In summary, Nigerian media ownership is composed of state and privately-owned news sources. However, in the broadcast sector, the federal government has significant control since it owns and regulates most of the radio and TV stations. Therefore, the media of Nigeria faces a lack of press freedom and censorship at the hands of the government.