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1.1 Background of the Study
The electronic media began with radio transmission services. According to Agba (2006), radio began between 1887 and 1888, a German scientist Heinrich Hertz (1857-1894) and a scientific breakthrough to demonstrate the liberation of electric curren6t into space in the form of waves like beams. He was laying the foundation for the transmission of sound through radio waves.
Marconi successfully proved Hertz’s theory of electromagnetic waves by making a compass needle turn at the same time a spark jumped between two wires on the other side of the room, constructing a more elaborate transmitter, Marconi sent signals across the hillside outside the family home near Bologna (Bitnner 1989:93). So in 1906 it was possible for the Canadian immigrant to USA, Reginald Hessenden to broadcasr human voice and music over the air waves, which could pick up by crystal set receiver, (Agba, 2006) thus the birth of radio station in the world.
Radio as a means of mass communication has become one of the most effective means of communication in the world since its discovery, especially because of its reach as its transcends geographical linguistic and traditional barriers Odo(2008). Radio is part of the mass media and so outside its traditional role of educating, informing and entertaining
the public it has other salient responsibility to the society. One of which is to mobilize the populace in the times of need. Today, Nigeria is among the third world countries with practicing democracy.
Elections in the country have always been married with irregularities which have gone a long way to vote for candidates of their choice during elections as they believe that whether they vote or not, a predetermined winner will still emerge and so this has given greater responsibility to the mass media as an agent of social change to double its efforts in mobilizing and sensitizing voters on the need to come out massively to vote for candidates of their choice, which would help in strengthening democracy and bring development to the society.
The social responsibility theory of the mass media as propounded by Siebet, Peterson and Scram (1963) propose a functional model for the analysis of the function of media in political evolution and maintenance of a genuine democracy. They are as follows:
a) Enlightening the people on the need and importance of democracy.
b) Creating an enabling environment for the economy to grow strong especially through advertising.
c) Adhering strictly to the code of ethics laid down by the press council of Nigeria as this will motivate the journalist sufficiently enough to withstand the pressures of government interest and other special interest.
d) Entertaining the public with information and other well
This responsibility has placed on the shoulders of the media, an enormous task in democratic regime as ours and efficient mobilization of voters is part of that responsibility.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The electronic media as part of the mass media has a role to play in any democratic process. Part of its function includes mobilizing effectively the Nigeria populace to come out and vote massively for the candidate of their choice who will be accountable to them. This role makes the radio a key player in any democratic process and so it is expected that it carries out this responsibility with all amount of dedication so as to strengthen and entrench democracy in the country. Especially the 2011 general elections in most polling units, only twenty or thirty percent of the registered voters actually came out to vote.
This situation has forced many to ask if actually the media especially the electronic media has actually performed its function of mobilization.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the study are to:
i. Ascertain the impact of radio messages on voters especially for the purpose of political mobilization.
ii. Examine the role of radio as a tool for social mobilization.
iii. Establish strategies that will effectively help in improving voter mobilization during elections using radio.
iv. This work is set out to study this development.
This project therefore seeks to find out how effective has (E.S.B.S) radio carried out this responsibility of mobilizing the electorates during election especially in Enugu North municipality where it signals are received by most of the residents.
1.4 Research Questions
For the purpose of carrying out this research, the following questions have been formulated to serve as guide to this study.
i) What impact does E.S.B.S radio message have on voters especially for the purpose of political mobilization.
ii) How does radio serve as a tool for social mobilization.
iii) What strategies is ESBS radio using to mobilize voters?
1.5 Significance of the Study
In a country with a nascent democracy like Nigeria this study is significant because it will reawaken the consciousness of media practitioners to their responsibility to the public which will in turn help to strengthen the democratic system in our country, Nigeria. This work will also help in the formulation of policy recommendations that will help the ESBS radio and other radio stations to have sustainable impact on their listeners especially as it concerns mobilization during elections.
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