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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

News is a very important tool that aids in societal development, it is the act of keeping the public informed and bringing to full knowledge what was in the dark to light.

It is the act of giving an account of occurrence in the society to the audience.

According to McQuail (1992) News was a selective, socially manufactured product with the power to determine and define events. Not every occurrence is necessarily news, he wrote. His argument was based on the motion that the “gate keepers” who are the journalists and editors decide what news is and how it should be reported and disseminated.

News is seen as a timely reportage of events that are of interest and significant to the people and the society at large, it is something the audience did not know previously about until the journalist gives it to them. News is what the journalist says it is because without the reporter reporting the occurrence, it cannot be regarded as news.

Life appears to be a shapeless jumble of events, falling over each other, elbowing and jostling each other. Journalists each day structure this chaos, sort out and neatly package them into stories so that the public receives them the same day on the different media.

The act and process of gathering, writing and reporting news is made possible through the means of communication and in its simplest form is the transmission of message from a source to a receiver. Every society’s growth survival and continuity depends on communication; a system through which people could exchange ideas and feelings: An economic system for the production of goods and services to satisfy human needs, a health  system  to cure disease and ensure human reproduction; a socio political system to maintain, control and ensure order.

According to Grifton (2012) communication is the relational process of creating and interpreting messages that elicit a response.

The commercialization of news in the simplest form means that news reported or aired in this media (AKBC TV) are being paid for.

According to Nnoron (2001), News commercialization is a phenomenon whereby the electronic media report news or news analysis as a commercial message by an unidentified sponsor, giving the audience the impression that news is fair, objective, and socially responsible.

Through the commercialization of news, news worthy events are being pushed aside by the paid news due to the commercialization of news, the values of news in AKBC television which are objectivity, conflict, novelty, accurately, human interest etc. are being ignored by reporters and editors just to satisfy the needs of their clients who pay for their news.

What the broadcast station is doing is selling cheaply the integrity of its newscast and newscasters by attesting to the “truth” of the claims of the so called sponsors, by also charging and receiving fees by whatever name called to cover “News” of company annual conference, meetings, weddings workshops and seminars, even events organized by charity organizations. They are not only prostituting the integrity of news but insulting their audience and breaching the national broadcasting code (Adaba 2001:110).

It will not be an over statement as Unesco (2006) assertion that as news items have to be paid for by those who want to be heard, news is no longer about reporting timely occurrences or events, it is now about packaged broadcast or reports sponsored or paid for by interested parties. By this practice, individuals, communities, private and public organizations, local and state government ministries etc. gain access to the mass media during news time for a prescribed fee without considering the perception of its audience.

On the other hand, audience are bound to react towards this the response of the audience towards a medium of communication is very important and vital as they are the recipients of the broadcast.

Audience constitute and influence the decision of any medium since the station broadcast is made for them. But in an instance where finance influences the choice of news and who is able to pay determines what goes on air, it means that the audience who are scattered within and outside the state have different perceptions compare to when news where judged by its features and characteristics.

It is on the basis of this that this study became necessary.

1.2 Statement of Problems

Commercialization of news has become the kanker worm that is eating up the media (print and broadcast) and causing or leaving the society to be deformed instead of being informed.

Initially, coverage of certain events and news that are of interest to the audience were not paid for by the source, rather sources who gave human interest stories were paid by the management of media.

The media houses involved are fast to defend this by saying that they do so to offset the current operational cost occasional by the economic reality. The payment for news stories is said to be the official brown envelops which are paid to the media houses has over throne the one given to the reporter at  the scene of his beat, this is contrary to the code of conduct of journalism which states that “it is the duty of the journalist to refuse any reward for publishing news or comment”

The commercialization negates the basic principles of the ethical precept of journalism, this implies that it is unethical for different broadcast media to accept any payment from news sources before their items are aired or covered as these affect the objectivity and the credibility of such news as well as encouraging the brown envelop.

It has been observed that in recent times, the AKBC television air such items as adverts, paid announcements and other items which ought not to be news because people have paid for them.

Thus, this study intends to ascertain Ikot Ekpene audience perception towards AKBC news commercialization.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The objective of this study are;

  1. To ascertain the extent Ikot Ekpene audience are exposed to AKBC television news.
  2. To find out the extent Ikot Ekpene audience are aware of news commercialization by AKBC television.
  • To find out the implications of news commercialization by AKBC television.
  1. To find out the views of Ikot Ekpene audience towards news commercialization by AKBC Television.

1.4 Research Questions

These questions will guide this research.

  1. To what extent are Ikot Ekpene audience expose to AKBC television news?
  2. To what extent are Ikot Ekpene audience aware of news commercialization by AKBC television?
  • What are the implications of AKBC television news commercializations?
  1. What are the views of Ikot Ekpene audience towards news commercialization of AKBC television?

1.6 Scope of the Study

The study which is on Ikot Ekpene audience perception of AKBC television news commercialization is limited to the audience of AKBC television residing in Ikot Ekpene urban.

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