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  • Background to the Study

Press freedom and fundamental human rights are two terms that can make or mar a society.

Press freedom and fundamental human rights can make a society where they are given their right place and proper attention. In the same, vein, the two can mar society where they are not given their proper place and respect. Infact they are like two sides of the coin.

A respect for fundamental human rights thus becomes a respect for human person. To understand how fundamental human rights work in a society is to understand the position of press freedom in that society. Because a society cannot have fundamental human rights in operation without first of all having press freedom in place, since the press is the voice of the voiceless society.

Moreover to understand press freedom and fundamental human rights in Nigeria, one must at the social systems where they operate. To put this in perspectives, that is pertinent to review the Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida and the Sani Abacha military regimes and the supposed democratic government of Olusegun Obasanjo, during the period under military review in Nigeria, press freedom and fundamental human right were conceived not for the great mans of people for men who were in position to guide and direct their fellows. This freedom was thought to be created near the hub of power. This is to say that once one is in power or in uniform, the person is above the law in some aspects of life.

The press therefore functioned from the top to down. The rulers of the time used the press to inform the masses of what they want to hear. Know and support.

For instance the government used the media to project only its programme and policies. But after all these, the fate of press freedom still hangs the balance.

However as stated earlier, no person can talk freedom of the press without first of all thinking of fundamental human right. When human rights are held in bondage, the press cannot find a fertile ground to practice, hence the clamp on the press article one (1) of the universal declaration of human rights say ‘all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Human rights and equal in dignity and rights. Human rights thus become birth right that flows from parents to children. This becomes possible as human beings are endowed with reason and consciences. There were severe retroactive laws as well as numerous absolutist decrees which inter-alia legalized illegalities and also drastically eroded fundamental human rights.

Most of the atrocities committed against the citizens were never reported during the regimes of Babangida and Abacha, as decrees were promulgated to trap those pressmen who cleared to publish government’s violation of human rights. As for Buhari administration such pressmen will be sacked without benefits. As a result of this ugly development against Nigeria pressmen, freedom of press becomes and remains a mirage.

Nevertheless, the importance and functions of the press cannot be over emphasized in a secular society like ours. These functions of the press are:-

CORRELATION: (1997) and Wright (1975) wrote that, “Correlation includes the interrelationship about the environment and prescription for conduct in reaction to these events. This is the editorial or opinion function which is otherwise pejoratively referred to as propaganda agenda setting.

SOCIALIZATION OR EDUCATION: Wright further said that occur on communicating knowledge’s, values and social norms from one generation to another from members of a group of newcomers. This is done through informal education.

SURVEILLANCE: According to Wright, surveillance “refers to the collection and distribution of information, concerning events in the environment, both outside and within any particular society” this function of the press helps in guiding the live of the individual in society.

ENTERTAINMENT: Wright sees entertainment as “communicative it’s primarily intended for amusement, irrespective of any instrumental effect they might have. This is geared towards providing some amusement relaxation and relief from tension. It is basically meant to offer escape from hard, stressful times.

These functions of the press are very vital for the country and the press in society cannot be over emphasized.

These issues therefore make this study very important as we will in the following chapters discuss the operations of the media in the administration of President Buhari; the attempt will hinge on providing solutions to some of the startling issues posed in this background.


  • Statement of the Problems

The study under review has the operations of the press at its epi-centre in the democratic dispensation of President Buhari.  We are going to look at some of the policies that have undermined the social responsibility of the press, as well as policies that have favoured the activities of the press in the aforementioned administration.

Is the word “Press Freedom” in existence in the true reality of life and, if so, how does it function?  Or are they determined by the kind of government in operation from society to society or country to country?


  • Research Questions

This will aim at assessing the performance of the press, the atmosphere in which they operate, given this dispensation, which is President Buhari’s regime period.  They are as follows:

  1. To what extent did the press carryout its role as watchdog of the socit?
  2. Did the media (press) perform well under President Buhari’s Administration?
  3. To what extent was the press used as an instrument of good governance in President Buhari’s Administration?


  • Purpose of the Study


  1. To find out whether the civilian rule fostered brighter prospect for the media?
  2. To determine whether the media (press) performed better under the dispensation of President Buhari Administration?
  3. To examine whether the press was used as an instrument of good governance in President Buhari’s Administration?


  • Significance of the Study

This research work is of great relevance to the society at large. This is applicable to the government, the readers of this research work and to the researcher.

The benefit of this research work to the government is that by the end of the research, the weak-points and short – comings of all the sectors of the nation would be pinpointed and displayed based on findings, thereby proffering solution to the problem.

To the reader, they will be upgraded intellectually and also will be highly informed of the up and doings of the formal administration. It will also give the reader’s insight on how the press freedom participate in politics and governance of the nation, also partake in the political affairs of the country geared towards the achievement of national development.


  • Scope of  the  Study

The scope of this study is Press Freedom And fundamental human rights in Nigeria. Using Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration 2016-2020).


  • Limitations of the Study

In the course of writing and carrying out this project work, the researcher encountered many difficulties; some errors in the results of the research and from external sources of data collection. These are factors  standing as constraints thereby limiting the effect of the research result.

Among these are, time finance , scope and use of wrong statistics in data analysis, due to time limit, the research work is a time consuming one. A lot of time is taken to observe the subjects.

Most  times the behaviour of the staff changes even when they are aware that they are being observed by the researcher, this is by taking their behavior. The researcher also observed that these senior staff some time give true and false information in order to cover their branches.

At sometime the research work lasted over two months due to large scope of area of the study.




  • Definition  of  Terms


Conceptual: This is the assessment of an expert opinion on the value of an issue such as press freedom.

Operational:        To determine the view and evaluation of experts on the value of freedom of press.

Press Freedom:  

Freedom: In this content, it means giving access, liberty not under compulsion or restraint by any authority.

Operational: To know if the press with these rights are free to gather news without obstruction, to publish the comment on it thereon.

Civilian Rule:

Journalism: The profession which involves working in a media house, sometimes it is regarded as press work. This is profession which antecedent entails conducting and writing for public journals.

Human Rights: These right which are inherent in the nature of human beings without which we cannot live as human beings. This refers to those principles and freedom given human being in order to satisfy nature.

Government Conceptual:         This refers to the exercise of political authority over the actions, affairs etc. of a political unit or people as well as the performance of certain functions for this unit or body.

Detention: It means conferment of arrest due to an offence committed before trail in a court of law. It also means restriction of liberty especially of political provisional law; A rule of action establish by authority.

Civil Liberty Organization (CLO): This is an organization in Nigeria which is formed to fight against the abuse of human rights. The incumbent president in Nigeria is Ayobe. It has other branches in other countries of the world.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

This is united nation commission where thirty articles of human rights are written for the whole worlds observation.


1.9  Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (background of the study), statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope of the study etc. Chapter two being the review of the related literature presents the theoretical framework, conceptual framework and other areas concerning the subject matter.     Chapter three is a research methodology covers deals on the research design and methods adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study


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