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Nigerian Media and the Transition to Civilian Rule: Role of the Nigerian Media in the Nigerian Transition to Civilian Rule (1983-1999)

Nigerian Media and the Transition to Civilian Rule: Role of the Nigerian Media in the Nigerian Transition to Civilian Rule (1983-1999)

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Observers of the Nigerian transition to civilian rule accused the Nigerian media early in the transition of playing the "politics of confusion" in the country by "undermining their role as the voice of the common people and the watchdog of government." They supported their view by alleging that the "uninhibited nature of the Nigerian media" has warranted its members "the privilege of crossing state boundaries in search of newsworthy information." As such, reporters in one state could publish "untrue or unresearched information about politicians in another state," thereby "inciting the citizens of that state against their leaders and vice versa." Or, uncharacteristically, they could resort to "praise-singing of corrupt leaders, thereby undermining the grievances of the ordinary citizen." Although distinction has to be made between "government" and "private" media, as each party is treated differently in these allegations, this study posits that this single act of condescension by one of Africa?s most "vibrant" media, perhaps, set the tone for the "murky" outcome of the transitions from military to civilian rule in Nigeria.