Acta Universitatis Danubius. Communicatio, Vol 13, No 2 (2019)

Measuring Press Freedom in a Democratic Society: A Content Analysis of Nigerian Newspapers

Kamaldeen Arikewuyo Ahmed, Rasaq Muhammad Adisa, Isiaka Zubair Aliagan


The present plurality of ideas in the cornucopia of communicative space throughout Nigeria does not make Nigeria a free and open society. As such, the country’s journalism practice is characterized by intimidation by the state actors. However, anchored on development media theory, this study therefore, investigated the extent of press freedom from the relationship between Nigerian press and President Muhammadu Buhari’s first democratic dispensation. Using quantitative content analysis, individual news story of 2016 fuel scarcity and Naira Devaluation and Dollar appreciation reported in the Nigerian newspapers was used as unit of analysis while systematic sampling was used in selecting the sample. Findings revealed however, away from the partisan relations between Nigerian press and the government, the relationship between the press and the present democratic government is critical with a very little attention to journalists’ repression. Further findings revealed that the press is noticeably free since it repeatedly covered 57.6% and 74.1% of stories considered critical to the government by giving such stories prominence on the front pages of the country’s popular newspapers. The implication of this is that professionalism and objectivity can hypothetically be guaranteed in the coverage of issues that borders on public affairs in any liberal African democracy.


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