Imperial Britain and the challenge of press freedom in Nigeria during the Second World War

Paper Authors: 

The imperial power, Britain, was in a quandary over the extent of press freedom
to allow in Nigeria, its largest black African colony, during the Second World
War. This fundamental issue so emphasized by Allied propagandists as one of
the freedoms for which the world was at war has not yet received scholarly
attention and is investigated in this study. The colonial state so much
pressurized the local press that the latter had walked a tight rope throughout the
duration of the war. An anti press freedom enactment which took effect on the
declaration of war had foreshadowed the muffling of freedom of expression at a
critical period of Nigerian history when the press was the only viable avenue
open to colonized Nigerians to ventilate war induced grievances. This historical
study applies the critical evaluative methodology built on archival sources,
including the newspapers in the repositories of the Nigerian National Archives,
Ibadan and the University of Ibadan Library to expand the cumulative
knowledge of Nigerian media history. It concludes that the Nigerian press
exploited loopholes in the censorship regulations, the palpable support of the
newspaper publishers for Allied victory, and the restraining influence of the
Colonial Office, to articulate Nigerian grievances and evade the colonial sledge
hammer. The latter situation was only reversed when the colonial state enforced
full press censorship after the European phase of the war as its strategy of
stemming the rising tempo of militant nationalism in wartime Nigeria.

Page Numbers: 
98 - 121
Other information: 
To cite this article: Mordi, E.N. (2017). Imperial Britain and the challenge of press freedom in Nigeria during the Second World War Journal of Development and Communication Studies, 5(1): 98-121.


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