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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cultural Industries

Cultural industries develop either as a state monopoly (i.e., television broadcasting), as public, or as private industries. The ownership structure is clearly reflected in the development of cultural industries.

Publishing and Reading

Publishing and reading are estimated to be underdeveloped in Nigeria. The first printing outfit was established in Calabar in 1846. Newspapers, political and religious literature constituted the bulk of publishing activity in Nigeria for nearly a century. It is estimated that Nigeria now has over 500 publishers and there are about 50 registered member-firms in the Nigerian Publishers Association. They are expected to serve about half a million of Nigerian students and general public.

Inconsistent fiscal and education policies in Nigeria and the heavy dependence on government patronage were not in favour of improving rather weak publishing infrastructures. However, the publishing industry relies mostly on the enormous needs for school books and teaching materials. Over 95 per cent of books used in the primary and junior secondary schools are locally printed (and written, edited and illustrated by the Nigerians). Nigerian publishers are now going into the senior secondary school sector and into the technical, professional and tertiary sectors of textbook production. The estimates made in the mid-eighties showed that a minimum of 285 million textbooks per annum at all levels of education would be needed.

The main problems encountered by the publishing industry are the following: printing equipment is rather obsolete and scarce; there are constant shortages of paper; the publishing personnel is not always well trained. The linguistic problem is also important, as most indigenous languages do not have developed orthographies. The inconsistent educational policies, unreliable authorities supposed to support some publishers, piracy and poor promotion and distribution are also mentioned as problems.

Large internal markets and ever greater needs linked to the fast spreading education and reading culture support strongly the development of publishing industry.


Mass media/radio and television broadcasting industries have been spreading very tastly, motivated by 2 main factors: politics and education. Technical and technological reasons should be added as these enabled a very fast proliferation of radio and TV stations in Nigeria during the last about thirty years.

TV transmission began in Western Nigeria in 1559, and a year later the Eastern Nigeria TV Service and Radio TV Kaduna Service were established. The Federal government established the Nigerian Television Service (NTS) in Lagos in 1962. The development of television broadcasting reflected the regional versus federal politics and aspirations. Each of the 21 Nigerian states opted for its own radio and TV station, as well as for university, colleges, hospitals, etc. 34 TV stations had been established in Nigeria over 25 years, at a rate of 1.5 station a year.Nigeria has the fourth largest TV network in the world, with the constantly growing staff and the figure of imported programmes going constantly down. There is an ever increased choice of TV channels, and the oil revenues helped to increase the number of TV sets. In the mid-seventies about 87 per cent of population had access to TV programmes.

Educational television began broadcasting to schools in 1959 and soon became a very important input in development of TV. The merits of TV for the development of education in Nigeria are also enormous both in the processes of formal and informal education.

There were efforts to coordinate the growth of TV. The military government introduced in 1976 the Nigerian TV authority - NTA that took over the 10 then existing TV stations and created 9 more. However, in 1979 the Constitution gave the Nigerian president the mandate to allow state governments, organizations and individuals to establish and operate TV stations. In 1984 the military government nationalized all TV stations and established a state monopoly over television broadcasting. Proliferation of TV and radio stations proved to be a very powerful means for the emancipation of ethnic cultures and values.


Film production seems to be the least developed among the Nigerian mass communications industries. The local production of films is not encouraged neither financially nor through some cultural policy. The poor distribution networks operated mostly by strangers and dependent on Indian and American production do not support the production of domestic films. The state censorship also prevents production and distribution of domestic films. Some authors claim that the restructuring of the film industry through the nationalization of film production and distribution would be welcome. The need to set up laboratories and train professionals is also emphasized.

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