An Appraisal of Mass Media Role in Consolidating Democracy in Nigeria
The Nigerian media has been playing an active role in instituting democratic structures since the inception of the country as a nation state. The newspapers that were established during the early years of colonialism were used as potent tools of propagating the ideas of democracy in Nigeria. The various titles that appeared on Nigerian newsstands then were deployed to fight the colonial government. And through the instrumentality of the press, Nigeria achieved her independence in 1960. This study therefore critically assessed the performance of Nigerian mass media in consolidating democracy. The study is of the view that the mass contributed immensely to the return of democracy in Nigeria. This the media did through their critical criticism of the military juntas, mobilization of the citizens to participate in entrenching democratic values, exposing cases of corruption, and making public officers accountable to the people. Despite Nigerian media great performance in promoting democracy, they are faced with challenges which borders on issues of ethnicity, Lack of adequate modern communication gadgets, pressure from pressure groups and the government, ownership question, corruption, poor welfare and security issues among several others. For Nigerian media to serve as instrument for stabilizing democracy, they need to ensure that they live up to the ideals of the profession and deal with all cases of unethical practices among its members. The government on the other hand should truly support the noble profession by creating the right atmosphere for media men to operate without friction.
Keywords: Communication, Democracy, Mass Media and Nigeria