The Necessity of Checks and Balances in Broadcasting Industry

By: Israel Babalola

The human society we live in is that of law and ethics, control and regulations. In essence therefore, where there is society, there is law. Laws, standards, guidelines and rules promote ethics while ethical principles reinforce the pillar of the law. Therefore, no organised society in the world can exist with it citizens carrying out their normal functions without rules and regulations. In the absence of law and order, there will be chaos and pandemonium everywhere.

Broadcasting is such a vital aspect of national by which professional bodies established must regulate its standards of practice in order to sanitize its activities and also fulfill its primaries. Either by the government or group it must be ensured that the broadcast industry operate within the confines of public morality which should be determined by self-imposed guides effected by professional body.

Broadcasting, with its sensitive nature and a wider coverage area, is a very powerful and extra-sensitive organ of mass communication. It is also dependent on air waves-electromagnetic spectrum, which belongs to the public. Therefore, governments all over the world have shown diverse interests in broadcasting because of the existence of its vital ingredient- the airwaves (electro — magnetic spectrum) which is a natural resource. It is necessary government or other designated agencies are charged with regulating the airwaves so as to ensure that they benefit the nation as a whole now and in the future – meanwhile frequency modulation and monitoring is a huge reason to having a regulatory body for the industry.

Again, broadcasting which invites legal controls because of the need to prevent interference and also for the efficient use of the spectrum for the public interest and to manage its potential for social control, is regulated the world over usually by an agency of government. Moreso, it has power to change the society at every capacity.

In economic terms, broadcasting serves as a compass that helps in indicating the fluctuations in stocks, shares and other indices. In social life, it is a veritable instrument for shaping social and family values across generations. In politics’, it remains a sine qua non in Conveying messages to and from voters and a vehicle of agenda legitimization, sometimes of outright campaign by nations.

Among the different media of mass communication, the broadcast media have always been a source of worry to governments. One major reason for government control of broadcasting is based on the fact that the air waves (electromagnetic spectrum) are a scarce public resource. It is argued that this resource should be controlled and allocated by the government in the way best suitable for serving the public.

Furthermore, for the broadcast media to remain relevant in the lives of Nigerians, it needs to be regulated in one way or the other for the benefit of the generality of the public.

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