A comparative study of the digital switchover process in Nigeria and New Zealand.
Thesis DisciplineMedia and Communication
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The Digital Switchover (DSO) process was conceived at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Regional Radiocommunication Conference (RRC-06) on June 16, 2006 in Geneva, Switzerland. Digital transmission was viewed as a global solution to the problem of frequency congestion associated with analogue television transmission. Subsequently, the New Zealand government announced its final shut-down of analogue television transmission and completed transition to digital transmission in 2012, but the implementation of the global agreement is yet to be completed in Nigeria. This thesis is a comparative study of the DSO process in New Zealand and Nigeria over the first ten years (2007-2017) of this global agreement. The two qualitative research methods used in this study, communication policy analysis and semi-structured interviews, work together to examine the existing power relations between nation states and transnational structures, the direction of policies and approach to governance, and the individual experience of some participants involved in the DSO process in Nigeria and New Zealand. A critique of the neoliberal free market system helps to conceptualize the push for market deregulation of the media environment, as the neoliberal approach to the global mediaspace was instituted by the transnational actors of global and trade and capital. These international actors include the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Bretton Woods institutions. The theoretical framework summarizes the effect of the WTO’s multilateral trade agreements and the policy- centred lending framework of the Bretton Woods Institutions on the market economies in New Zealand and Nigeria. From analysis of the international institutions, the thesis argues that the DSO process is a new strategy to enact the neoliberal free market system on the global mediaspace and redefine the role of global media and communication institutions in the digital era. The analysis of the digitized television environments considered in this study suggests that the DSO process mostly serves the interest of the state and the telecommunication market. Finally, the thesis finds that successful completion of the transition process by the ITU scheduled date is dependent on an inclusive state-market participation.