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The study is concerned primarily with the effect of news commercialization, either functionally or dys-functionally in the running of the Akwa Ibom Broadcasting Company, AKBC. Investigation from the study on one hand reveals that there is a tremendous increase in the raising of revenue to equate the demanding need of servicing of equipment, transportation of staff to various news boat as well as procuring facilities which are of immediate need to thje corporation. On the other hand, it unveils the deprivation of the people to hear the truth because as far as commercialization of the news is concerned, “anything goes”. The money attached to each news programme be it classified, obituary, children’s ceremony, wedding / marriage ceremony, foundation stone laying, “hotlines”, press releases, Local Government news, Advertisement, to mention a few have some peculiar problems of loweirgn of standards subversion of standard news selection criteria as well as devaluation of news values. Interview method (Oral) was used to answer questions raised by the study. A total of Seventy-Five (75) respondents were drawn from AKBC, Information ministries, NTA Uyo, and other media establishment, twelve (12) questions were administered to the respondents and some were peculiar to AKBC respondents. Simple percentage was used in the analysis of data. There was a brief description and statistical presentation of respondents. From the analysis, 80% of the respondents condemned the commercialization of news while 20% of the respondents supported news commercialization saying that news commercialization in AKBC impaired professional objective and aided the devaluation of news values. The study point to the fact that news commercialization in AKBC has lowered people’s interest in the station as well as neglecting professional and ethical conduct.
THE PROBLEM AND ITS SETTING
Media commercialization is a relatively new concept in Nigerian broadcasting. Even though the twin concepts of media commercialization and media privatization had been with us for some time, they never really assumed prominence until the Nigerian economy began to receive the kind of bashing unparalleled in the history of the country.
The Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation NBC, now Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, took quite some time before it could convince itself of the necessity of commercial broadcasting. The situation was not made any easier through a legacy of Government control of the electronics media bequeathed by the BBC to NBC, now FRCN.
But can one say that commercialization is better than complete non-commercial policy of Government owned media? Perhaps yes and perhaps not. These does not appear to be a specific study which has clearly analyzed the two situations, because the largest number of users of electronic media today are relatively young persons, it would perhaps be useful study to get to know the real truth.
What is available, for now is a mixture of prejudice and insufficient data. Whatever the case, there is no dodging the fact that commercialization of news has some salutary as well as negative effects on the society.
Of course, one does not need to confirm through research that the free market place present us with onerous and unrestrained Babel of voices. The situation which may lead us sometimes to a “communication culdesac” in terms of our ability to free ourselves from restraining influence of money. For example, a broadcasting company whose reporter through a careful and unrelenting commitment to his work investigates the activities of a client company or leaders in business and discovers some sharp practice or anti-social activities may by interlocking nature of commercial interest: the TV station, the production company or its leaders, and the Public Relation (PR) company or department be forced to drop the story by his employer because of possible loss of patronage that this could bring. Suggestion and recommendations for the check and balance of our ne3ws values.
1.2 Historical Background
The Akwa Ibom Broadcasting Corporation is an umbrella name for Akwa Ibom Radio and Television on services. It is owned and directed by Akwa Ibom State Government through its Board of Directors headed by the Director General who is the chief Executive and sees to day to day running of corporation. Under the General Manager are two directors for radio and television who reports the activities of the corporation to the Director General.
Besides, its operational site is at 205 Aka Road, Uyo where its administrating programmes, productions, engineering and commercial deportments are.
The corporation started as an off-shoot of the Cross River State Television (CRTV) at Uyo. This was the product of Dr. Clement Isong, the governor of the then Cross River State during the second republic. With the creation of Akwa Ibom State in 1987, these stations were handed over to the Akwa Ibom State Government.
However, the Akwa Ibom Broadcasting Corporation saw its limelight in 1987 but was officially edited and commissioned on July 29, 1991 by the then Military Governor, Group Captain Idongesit Nkanga. The Amplitude Modulation (AM) transmits at 108 KH in the mid-west band while the Frequency Modulation (FM) studios transmit at 90.52kH and the television service transmits on Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Channel 45. The AM, FM and Television have their transmitting stations at Abak and Ntak Inyang in Itu respectively.
The dominant means of communication in these stations are English and vernacular to spread grassroots information. The FM station also runs commercials.
The AKBC has staff strength of about 78 ranging from degree holders to attempted standard, elementary or primary six, depending on what duty an individual is employed to do.
Its staff ranges from the general, radio / television directors to editors, librarians, cleaners, drivers and other related staff. All perform different specified functions for effective operation of the station.
1.3 Statement of the Problem
News commercialization has been a predominant ideology of our broadcasting stations. It is reckoned with much advantages to some and disadvantages to others.
The study is determined to critically examine the effects of news commercialization in broadcasting with particular reference to the operation of Akwa Ibom Broadcasting Corporation in radio and television sections.
1.4 Objective of the Study
The study sets to achieve the following purposes:
(1) To unearth the effect of news commercialization in AKBC
(2) To find out whether news commercialization in AKBC affects the professional ethical requirements of journalism or not.
(3) To ascertain, in what ways has it affected the professional ethical requirement.
(4) To proffer suggestions and recommendations.
The research seeks to analyze the extent to which news commercialization has either functionally or dy-functionally affected the functioning of AKBC and even the people of Akwa Ibom State and beyond.
It also intends to offer suggestions and recommendations for the proper checks and balances as well as the organization of our values.
1.5 Research Questions
(1) Has commercialization of news affected the professional ethnic requirements of journalism?
(2) What are the fates of the poor citizens that do not have money to pay?
(3) What are the effects of news commercialization in AKBC radio to the mass audience?
(4) Has the commercialization of news in AKBC affects the presentation of truth and questions the professional integrity of the media?
1.6 Justification of the Study
Nowadays, the problems of maintaining equipments and that of effective running of broadcasting stations has been some of the contesting factors to eliminate, hence, the idea of news commercialization. Yet, the managers of these cooperation give little or no thoughts to the facts that, the idea of news commercialization could affect presentation of the truth, question professional integrity and may even force them to act against the professional ethical requirement.
However, as a result of the benefit and dangers of this news concept viewed in the areas of misused and abuse, the researcher sets to uncover the known and unknown effect of news commercialization in AKBC borne out of the fact, that not much have been said about this issue by many.
Nevertheless, the finding of this study will serve as an advocacy for government, media practitioners and other individuals to protect or discard the commercialization of news in our media industries.
Media practitioner and communication scholars may find it an invaluable work in the area of news commercialization and may act as an impetus on which further research may be done.
1.7 Scope of the Study
Undertaking a research on a wider perspective could be impracticable for one researcher, the basis of this work is to take a limited survey of the adverse effect on the news commercialization in AKBC. The choice of doing this study here is that it is of only broadcasting station in Akwa Ibom State.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
The limitations were in the area of human and material resources. The officials were not easily accessible for information. As AKBC staff could not fully disclose information. Also, there was lack of records on news commercialization. This may affect the result of the study numerically.
1.9 Definition of Terms
The following terms are defined operationally:
News: This is an accurate (truth) or idea of an event that is of interest to the people. It must be timely, odd or usual near, prominence, human interest and may be an issue that attracts consequences.
Commercialisation: This refers to a deliberate policy of increasing commercial activities for the sustenance of the media themselves that is reducing most of the media activities to a sufficient quantity in order to decrease their dependency on government.
Effect: The state of influence or the strong impact of media contents, which influence is sometimes difficulty of isolating variables and freezing or arresting within a time frame, the active agent which make the news attitudinal change possible.
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