Hitting the bull by its horn is calling their time the GOLDEN ERA of Nigerian Journalism. They were indeed the stars of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).
First to consider is one of the living legends in the area of journalism, Christiana Anyanwu.
Christiana “Chris” Anyanwu MFR (born 28 October 1951) is a Nigerian journalist, publisher, author, and politician. She was imprisoned from 1995 to 1998 for treason after reporting on a failed coup d’état against the government of Sani Abacha, and won several international journalism prizes during her confinement, including the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
Anyanwu was born in Mbaise, Imo State. She attended Owerri Girls Secondary School before moving to the US, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and a master’s degree in Mass Communication from Florida State University.
After graduating, she returned to Nigeria, and worked for the NTA and the Imo Broadcasting Corporation as a news reader and reporter.
In 1987, she was appointed Imo State commissioner for Information, Youth, Sports, Culture and Social Welfare under Imo governor Amadi Ikwechegh.
Following her tenure as commissioner, Anyanwu became publisher/editor-in-chief of TSM (The Sunday Magazine), a weekly publication focused on political issues.
In May 1995 Anyanwu was arrested following the publication of a story about a failed coup d’état against the government of Sani Abacha, whom she had refused to endorse as president; she and several Nigerian journalists were accused of being “accessory after the fact of treason”.
Anyanwu was prosecuted in camera by a military court and sentenced to life imprisonment on 4 July 1995, which was later reduced to 15 years in October 1995 after pressure from national and international human rights groups.
While being held in Gombe prison, she went partially blind. Doctors warned that she was in danger of losing her sight completely if she failed to receive medical attention.
Shortly after her imprisonment, she received the International Women’s Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Award, making news around the world.
Anyanwu, then held in solitary confinement, was passed a note that read, “Some women in America are giving you a prize. The world is watching”.
Anyanwu later told the IWMF that receiving the award had buoyed her spirits while in prison: “Yes! Somebody must understand or else they wouldn’t just give out an award like this … I was very much encouraged and strengthened by it. And it made me confident and determined not to cave into pressure.”
Two years later, the Committee to Protect Journalists named Anyanwu winner of the CPJ International Press Freedom Award, and in May 1998 she was awarded UNESCO’s Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
Because of her imprisonment, Nobel Literature Prize laureate Wole Soyinka attended the ceremony to accept the latter on her behalf.
Following the death of President Abacha in June 1998 and several protests from human rights groups worldwide, Anyanwu was released by Abacha’s successor General Abdulsalam Abubakar on health grounds. She spent two years in Virginia, during which she wrote the book Days of Terror about Nigeria’s struggle during the dictatorship.
Returning to Nigeria after her book’s release, she testified to her experiences in prison and confronted her former jailers, publicly forgiving one after he apologized to her.
A televised version of her now-defunct publication TSM Show was aired in 2001.
Today, she is the Chief Executive of Spectrum Broadcasting Co. Nig Ltd,. A media company which birthed Hot FM, in 2005 operating in four major states in the country, Abuja, Imo, Delta and Lagos states.
During the Nigerian general election in 2007 Anyanwu was elected to the Senate on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as a representative of Owerri Zone, Imo State, Nigeria.
Describing her change in career, she stated, “I felt I could do more than observe and moan the things that were not going right … With my years of reporting government, politics, social issues, oil and diplomacy, I had come to understand governance issues well. I felt I could be more useful in helping find solutions to the problems.
Chris Anyanwu was and indeed she is a firebrand in journalism, even as a private radio proprietor of Hot FM radio stations.
Hot FM was first licensed to broadcast to the entire North-central Zone in 2005, broadcasting on the 98.3 FM frequency from Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. It started broadcasting on March 1, 2005.
Hot FM Abuja, has been dishing out quality broadcast since March 2005. The broadcast station is set to provide a platform for the best music available and the highest quality of entertainment in the Nigerian market.
Subsequently, Hot FM was established in Owerri the capital city of Imo State being Chris Anyanwu’s state of origin.
Afterwards Spectrum Broadcasting Co. Nigeria Limited established Hot FM in Asaba, the capital city of Delta State.
With 3 successful broadcasting stations in Abuja, Asaba and Owerri, Hot Fm 93.3 Lagos was introduced as not just another radio station in town but the radio station.
Hot FM primary target audiences are cosmopolitan, urbane and upwardly mobile people.
Mr Ndu Scott Anyanwu, Chris Anyanwu’s son, is the Managing Director of Spectrum Broadcasting Company Nigeria Limited.