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The Institute for Media and Society

By Akin Akingbulu - Executive Director, Institute for Media and Society, IMS, Nigeria


Born in 1957 in South-Western Nigeria
Graduated in Education, in English and in Mass Communication.
Pioneer Executive Director of the Institute for Media and Society (IMS), Nigeria, since 2000.
Participated in strategic international media and communication conferences: the International Conferences on Freedom of Expression (Lima, Peru, 1997; Paris, France 1998, CapeTown, South Africa, 1999); Conference on Media Pluralism in West Africa (Dakar, Senegal, 1998); Seminar on Promoting Community Media in Africa (Kampala, Uganda, 1999)
Member of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) and the African Council on Communication Education (ACCE).
Married to Grace and has three children.


The Institute for Media and Society (IMS) is an independent non-governmental organization based in Nigeria.

It was established in August 1999 in the early period of Nigerian's transition to democracy by a group of citizens drawn from diverse disciplines but a common commitment to communication, democracy and development in Nigeria.

The institute's mandate is three fold:

It has four organs of administration: the General Assembly, the Executive Committee, the Board of Advisors and the Board of Trustees.

The programmatic activities of the institute are in Research and Documentation, Training, Publishing and Networking. The institute executes four programmes in support of farm radio:






by Akin Akingbulu , Executive Director
Institute for Media and Society (Nigeria)

The Chair,

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have the honor and pleasure to make this short presentation on the Institute for Media and Society (Nigeria) and its programmes in support of farm radio



The Institute for Media and Society (IMS) is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Nigeria.

Our journey as an organization began in May 1999 in the period of Nigeria's transition from military to civil rule.

Twelve Nigerians from diverse backgrounds gathered in the city of Lagos to review the Nigerian communication landscape and design an action plan through which, we believed, we could help consolidate the new process being started in our country.

Within our ranks were practitioners and scholars in journalism, broadcasting, arts & culture, development communication, agricultural extension, educational technology, social work, information and communication technology and community development.

Among the significant findings generated by the exercise were those:


We appreciated (as we still do) the urgent need for development in Nigeria, the consolidation of the democratic process, and the role that communication could play in the entire scheme of things.

We convinced ourselves that

We decided that the time was ripe for a concrete initiative to address these communication challenges. The Institute for Media and Society (IMS) was established in August 1999 with a mandate to work on a three-fold approach to communication development in Nigeria.

  1. Building the capacity of existing media to become a rigorously informed, innovative, competitive, plural, and knowledge-creating institution so it can effectively perform the following crucial roles:
  2. Facilitating the process of expansion of communication infrastructure to hitherto marginalised sections (especially the rural areas) of Nigeria
  3. Building the capacity of groups, institutions and communities to utilize available communication infrastructure and other resources.

Hence, the mission statement of the Institute for Media and Society (Nigeria):

To design and implement communication initiatives which increase the capacity of the media, individuals, groups, institutions and communities for participation in democracy and development in Nigeria.


The programme delivery of the Institute is done under four divisions:

  1. Research and Documentation: it engages in the study of media/communication issues and trends of contemporary relevance; sources, collates and archives data on various subjects for appropriate dissemination to local and international professionals and organizations.
  2. Training: conducts training programmes - workshops, seminars, conferences, etc - on various issues for people from diverse backgrounds.
  3. Publishing: publishes books, monographs, journals and newsletters (print and electronic) on various communication subjects for worldwide distribution.
  4. Networking: provides a linkage service, which brings together individuals or groups and governance institutions to forge the synergies of collective initiatives.


The membership of the Institute is open to all Nigerians, irrespective of ethnic or state origin, religion or political ideology, although non-Nigerians can be members of its Board of Advisors and special committees or otherwise invited to participate in its programmes.

Its membership is drawn from disciplines, which include journalism, broadcasting, arts and culture, development communication, agricultural extension, information and communication technology, social work, community development and educational technology.

The Institute has four governance organs:


I like to inform you that today, 69 years after radio broadcasting started and nine years after it was deregulated in Nigeria, there are 53 stations-45 of them state-owned, eight (8) private, all commercial and urban-based, but NO rural community station. This is worrisome for a country of 120 million people, about 75% of whom live in the rural areas.

The Institute for Media and Society (IMS) has set itself the task and is implementing a programme of helping to break the lethargy of civil society and other barriers so that rural radio stations will emerge-and in large numbers too - in Nigeria before long.

This programme in support of Rural Radio is in four areas.

  1. Consultations and Documentation:
    In September 2000, we began a programme of consultation and documentation in the rural communities of Nigeria. The objective of the programme was to identify and discuss with genuine grassroots Community-Based Organizations (CBO) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), including farm groups, and document their profiles and activities, as well as the communication needs and preferences of their communities. The work is still on going in the six zones into which the country was divided for the project.

  2. Workshops:
    The institute has concluded arrangements to conduct a set of six (6) sensitization workshops on promoting and establishing rural community radios in Nigeria. They are designed to expose/sensitize civil organizations, especially those at the grassroots, to the vast potentials of rural community radio, and equip them with the skills/capacity to establish and use it as a development tool. The first workshop has been scheduled for 20th -22nd March 2001 in Ibadan, South-Western Nigeria. The others will hold in May 2001 (Bauchi, North-East), July (Owerri, South-East), September (Sokoto, North-East), October (Port Harcourt, South-South) and November (Lokoja, North Central). Participants at the workshops will be drawn mainly from rural community-based organizations, including farm groups. Similar series of workshops on Rural Community Telecentres, and Rural Community Theaters are in the pipeline.

  3. Publishing:
    We are starting to implement a publishing programme on rural community radio with three important components: (a) a website, (b) an electronic newsletter and (c) a printed newsletter.
    1. Website: we are embarking on the development and hosting of a website which will be launched in April this year. The website will carry news and analysis on developments on the rural community radio scene and allied sectors in Nigeria. It is expected to be a strategic repository of information, ideas and dialogue.

    2. The Electronic Newsletter, a digest of developments on the rural community radio scene, will be produced weekly and circulated by e-mail to rural community radio and allied constituencies in Nigeria and all parts of the world. Carrying news, news analyses and interviews, it will also be posted on the website.
      Preview editions started two weeks ago, while the maiden edition will be launched and circulated in the week following the first workshop in March 2001.

    3. The Printed Newsletter will be produced and circulated quarterly. Featuring news and analysis on rural community radio initiatives and trends, it will target community radio constituencies in Nigeria and abroad, particularly those with limited or no access to the Internet. Its contents will also be made available on the website.

  4. Networking:
    The consultation and documentation programme which we started last year is, for us, the take-off point for a process of serious and elaborate networking in the emerging community radio sector. As the workshop and publishing programmes progress, we will formally launch a network of community radio stakeholders which will, among other things, help to generate quality collective initiatives required for taking radio to the grassroots and sustaining it in all corners of Nigeria.


Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of at least 90 million Nigerians, most of them farmers, who will benefit from rural community radios in Nigeria, The Institute for Media and Society is pleased to inform you that you are all part of the goodwill to which we look to make the emergence and sustenance of this sector a reality in our country.

We are grateful to the FAO for recognizing the great challenges in Nigeria and for making us a part of this historic workshop.

I thank you all for listening.

Akin Akingbulu
Executive Director
Institute for Media and Society (Nigeria)


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