What Has Changed? A Critical Analysis of the Law of Sedition and the Press in Nigeria since 1914

Chinedu C. Odoemelam, Uche V. Ebeze, Okorom E. Morgan, Daniel N. Okwudiogor


This study is situated within the normative theoretical framework, which focuses on the press in nations where the press is expected to assume the coloration of the political milieu within which it finds itself. The British colonial masters discovered the power of the press in the early 16th century and devised numerous schemes to restrict publication. Such policies were extended to her majesty’s colonies; for instance, the law of sedition in Nigeria. Freedom of the press is a right but it is a right that has been won only through many hard-fought legal battles like the one fought by John Peter Zenger in the seditious trial of 1735. There were several such trials for sedition in the colonies, and despite the acquittal of John Peter Zenger, the British colonial government went ahead to adopt such laws in her colonial territories. This was exemplified in the seditious offence ordinance that was in force in 1909 in Southern Nigeria. This study adopts the historical, legal research and critical paradigm technique to examine how the law of sedition has fared in inhibiting press freedom in Nigeria since 1914. The study provides an understanding of how colonial influence may affect laws regulating how the media function in independent States.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/csm.v4n2p20


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