REGULATION OF THE MASS MEDIA IN NIGERIA
For those who are very conversant with the Nigeria constitution, you would have seen where Section 39 [ 2] of the 1999 constitution of the federation provides that every person could own, establish and operate any medium for the dissemination of information, ideas and opinions and with the provision that no person, other than the federal and state government or any other person or body authorized [licensed] by the president can own, establish or operate a broadcasting outfit for any purpose.
From the above statement, we can conclude that the power to establish a broadcasting station rests in the might of federal and state government and also anybody authorized by the president after due process. But we could also see that the right to establish and operate a newspaper [print] media can be done by anyone but will need an appropriate license and must meet the conditions that have been spelt out by the 1964 Newspaper Amendments Act.
In Nigeria there have been various Acts or Law which have been enacted to regulate the mass media operation in Nigeria beginning with the 1903 Newspaper Ordinance and with the objectives of fixing liabilities of newspapers by means of registration, imprints which would be found in the last page of the newspaper and the masthead showing the publisher, printer, the editor and their addresses.
The reason for this, is that it is aimed to facilitate the control of any ‘’unruly’’ newspapers.
We all did remember that the first newspaper regulatory law was enacted in the 1903 Newspaper Ordinance [highlight], the forerunner of newspaper regulatory laws in Nigeria, was promulgated by the colonialist for the regulation of the requirements to be met by prospective publishers BEFORE a newspaper could be published and printed. The law made it mandatory for proprietors and publishers to swear to affidavits containing
; the title of the paper;
; its true printing address;
; the real and true names and address of proprietors, printers and publisher; and
; a bound for E250 to pay for any libelous publisher.
It also required for a surely or more and with the imprints at last page of the paper, stating the current address of the newspaper, its editor, the printers and publishers. The owner will also deliver a copy of every issue and supplement of the publication to the government within six days of publication.
This law forms the basis of all subsequent newspaper laws enacted in the country. The laws was criticized and condemned by the newspaper publishers and elites of the time. They claimed the ordinance would retard development in the mass media.
In 1960, the sedition ordinance was promulgated by Governor Egerton to checkmate the excesses of the newspapers of that era. Earlier on in 1908, the Herbert Macaulay had already published a pamphlet which the Governor found inflammatory and inciting. This pamphlet was titled the Governor Egerton and the railways.
Below where the allegations the Pamphlet laid on the Governor as at that time.
A. Disregard of serious scandalous allegations in the railways.
B. Blased and prejudice against African professionals in the sector. Etc
The 1909 sedition stated that it is an offense for anyone nobody who he or she could be who incite hatred against Her Majesty, the Government of the United Kingdom, or between classes of the community, is punishable which could either take up to 2 or 3 years imprisonment.