The National Television of Nigeria
Sir: Was Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation merely an inheritance, a toy left for us by the colonial masters? To look at the Broadcasting Code, the goals are clear enough:
…the major responsibility of broadcasting to inform, educate and entertain… …Broadcasting in Nigeria should influence societal values positively, and in so doing, improve and strengthen the social, cultural, economic, political and technological fabrics of the Nation.
…The Broadcasting Code then defines sets of Social, Cultural, Economic, Political, Technological and Professional objectives.
Our airwaves have since been invaded by all sorts of cultures and values many of them with little or no conscious regard for the objectives defined in the Broadcast Code. And their signals are viciously unleashed on the malleable minds of our youth, many of whom dream of a future in the lands of the invading cultures. Even the NBC, the Commission set up to regulate broadcasting in Nigeria, seems helpless to stop this new face of colonialism!
NTA beats its chest as the one with the widest reach! It has the backing, the clout of one of the potentially richest Nations on earth, a nation often accorded the status of a giant of Africa. And access to a great labour market with capacity to provide a competent workforce of dedicated citizens, some of the richest and most creative minds in the world. Therefore, in truth it has potential to be the voice, the image bearer of over 140 million Nigerians and all African peoples to the rest of the world.
Yet, size and physical structures do not alone determine “the greatest reach”. In fact, by establishing broadcast stations or installing transmitters in nearly all local government headquarters across Nigeria NTA has actually spread itself very thin indeed.
NTA does not appear to have a clearly defined image, a focus other than that of an organ of government controlled by the political party in power, a perception, which creates a credibility problem.
‘Independent’ Television Stations tend to carve out a niche for themselves, secure a territory and guard it jealously. Channels Television, the most obvious example, prides itself as a News Station. But what is NTA renowned for? Does it have any department in which it excels, in which it is the clear leader? The honest answer is ‘No’. It has very little to show for its size and number of transmitters, nothing to command a majority following of large, and available varied publics!
NTA remains a potentially invaluable bridge builder between Nigerians, feeding the curiosity of each citizen concerning the other with vivid and accurate information, and highlighting those things that unite us, turning the farthest corner of Nigeria into ‘next-door’, and every Nigerian into ‘next-door-neighbour’.
In should form a bridge between government and the people it represents, be the window through which they see each other and sometimes shake hands!
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