Brief History and Overview of the Nigerian Press

Nigeria has the biggest and most virile media community in Africa. The country has over 150 publications, over 200 radio stations and rising daily and almost 150 TV stations (JSP Communications, 2013).  It also has a robust social media and one of the fastest growing internet adoption rates in the world.

In essence, the Nigerian media is predominantly Print, Electronic and Digital. In Nigeria, there are government-owned and private-owned media houses – radio, television, newspapers and magazines. There are also digital equivalents in the form of websites and blogs run by the government-owned and private-owned media organizations including individuals with huge popularity.

It is worthy of note that the Nigerian media started with the printing media on 3rd December 1859 by a Christian Missionary named Reverend Henry Townsend who established the first Newspaper in Nigeria. Soon after that, there was an uprising of Newspapers in Nigeria resulting vibrant journalists who used the press as a means of fighting several issues in the Nigerian society.

The Nigeria media have improved tremendously from the days of Reverend Henry Towsend. Ironically, a huge percentage of the private media organizations are owned by ‘ethnic minorities’. For instance, Alegho Dokpesi owns Daar Communications, Nduka Obaigbena – ThisDay, Late Alex Ibru – The Guardian, Sony Irabor – Inspiration FM, Ben Murray-Bruce – Silverbird, James Ibori – Daily Independent, John Momoh – Channels Television and Larry Izamoje- Brilla FM.

The press plays the vital role of shaping the outlook of a people and helps them form thoughts and opinions. The press can also play negative roles by framing or priming issues in such a way that the public is instigated against the government or parties or leaders against each other. The role of the press can either be conductive or destructive. By playing a constructive role, the press moves the government to be more in agreement with the interest of the people.

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