Media-State Relationship in Democratic Societies: An Appraisal of the current Nigerian Democratic Experiment
Keywords:democracy, media, state, Nigeria
This essay interrogates the nexus between media and democracy. It is a two-pronged approach to the discourse of media-state relationship in democratic settings, with the intention to proffer answer to the questions of what role the media play in democratic consolidation, and what role the state plays to facilitate media operations in the interest of democracy. Divided into four major parts, the first part sets the scene for discussion by giving an overview of the key concepts- media and democracy, upon which the whole gamut of the essay hinges. The second part pegs the study on a theory. Here, Development Media Theory has been employed to explain the dynamics of media-state relationship in budding democracies. Next is a perspective on media-state relationship, where the three state roles of regulation, participation and facilitation of media operations are discussed. The last part of the essay is a functionalist approach to the discourse of media-state relationship in a democratic setting, with accent on the major functions expected of a vibrant media sector such as surveillance, correlation, mobilization, information, enlightenment, education and sensitization, discussed vis-à-vis the Nigerian “politico-media” landscape. The study concludes that media and democracy are interlocked in a symbiotic relationship that is beneficial to each other. The relationship here is best described as two sides of the same coin that can never be separated, hence, each needs and yearns dearly for the other.
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