REGULATION OF THE MASS MEDIA IN NIGERIA
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, it is obvious that it is the federal and state government that could establish a broadcasting station and anybody authorized by the president after due process. But even the right to establish and operate a newspaper [print] media need an appropriate license and must meet the conditions spelt out by the 1964 Newspaper Amendments Act.
Various Acts or Law have been establish in country to regulate the mass media in Nigeria beginning with the 1903 Newspaper Ordinance and with the objectives of fixing liabilities of newspapers by means of registration, imprints in the last page of the newspaper and the masthead showing the publisher, printer, the editor and their addresses.
This is aimed to facilitate the control of any ‘’unruly’’ newspapers.
The first newspaper regulatory law was 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.
These were the allegations the Pamphlet laid on the Governor.
A. Disregard of serious scandalous allegations in the railways.
B. Blased and prejudice against African professionals in the sector. Etc
The 1909 sedition has stated that it is an offense for anyone 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.