Country Listing

Nigeria Table of Contents


The Media

The press was a specialized interest group in Nigeria. As the fourth estate or the "societal watchdog," it was the most vocal and effective interest group in the country, especially because other interest groups channeled their demands and support through the press. The media could act as a watchdog because of the large number of newspapers and radio and television stations, and because of the wide degree of press freedom.

In the 19__s, Nigeria had more than thirty national and provincial newspapers, more than twenty general magazines and journals, and more than twenty television and radio stations. Although the radio and television stations were owned by the federal and state governments, most of the newspapers and magazines were privately owned and were, in general, seen as instruments of partisan political interests. Thus, the latter could afford to be critical of the government. At some points, newspapers and magazines have been proscribed, as happened to Newbreed in 1977, the Tribune in 1984, and Newswatch in 1988. Individual journalists have been harassed and intimidated by government security agents. In 1971 Minere Amakiri, a Nigerian Observer correspondent, was detained and his hair shaved. Since then, numerous editors and reporters have been detained.

The organized interest groups representing the press included the Nigeria Union of Journalists, the Newspaper Proprietors Association, and the Nigerian Guild of Editors. These associations mainly pursued the professional interests of their members but also played active roles on broader social issues.

Data as of June 1991