INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND THE CHANGING ROLE OF MASS MEDIA IN NIGERIA

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND THE CHANGING ROLE OF MASS MEDIA IN NIGERIA

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1         BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Mbadugha (2000:48) defined information technology (IT) as the application of technology to information management. He stated that in recent years there has been many examples of media house in Nigeria who apply IT resources in their operations.

Udoma (1999:57) reported that information is an extremely valuable resource. This implies that any individuals or organization that has current and useful information is regarded as being very powerful.

Organizations, particularly the media houses are information processing entities. This justifies the huge investment in research development (R and D) in the area of information generation and processing, storage, retrieval and dissemination, particularly in the advance economics.

Information is thus jealously gathered, loaded shared freely or sold, depending upon the motive of the possessor.

In the media industry, which is characterized by high level of competition, success is to a large extent dependent on the speed and efficiency of communication.

Information technology (IT) provides near limitless possibilities of increasing the quantity and enhancing the quality, speed and availability of information in a complex but inter-dependent world of Business Communication (Anyakora, 1998:77). The idea of information technology dates back to the earliest time. The earliest form of writing (Cuneiform), for example, was invented in 35 B.C. Nwadamma (1997:78) reported that Tiro invented shorthand in 63 B.C. He equally noted that Henry Mill patented the typewriter in 1994, while the principles of the modern day facsimile (fax) transmission was patented by Brain Way Back in 1843.

Hence, as regards information technology, what is new therefore is the impressive array and sophistication of information technology resources, its increasing efficiency, reliability, speed, accuracy, cheapness, portability and ubiquity, made possible by micro processors.

The microprocessors are inexpensive, extremely efficient and miniaturized information processing units- a phenomenal invention of information technology.

According to Iwuoha (2000:102) the offices of the media houses of the early 1070s is a paper and file office. He explained that in these offices, most of the information processing, storage, retrieval and dissemination is done through paper document. He also explained that such offices are usually littered with paper and files, while documents in the office easily got destroyed or misplaced. He noted that response to paper communication during the period under discussion is therefore a costly show process and is fraught with uncertainties. He argued that all these are gradually changing particularly in the developing countries. He enumerated some of these countries/nations, and they include the following:

1.       African countries, such -         Nigeria

                                                            South African

                                                            Republic of Benin

                                                            Cote d Ivoire

                                                            Zimbabwe

                                                            Botsward

                                                            Egypt

                                                            Guinea Bissan

                                                            Equitorial Guinea

                                                            Ethiopia

                                                            Ghana

                                                            Cameroon

                                                            Mali and Togo

2.       Asian countries. Eg       -         India

                                                            Parkistan

                                                            Indonesia

                                                            Bangkok

                                                            Thailand

                                                            Philippines

3.       Latin American countries eg Colombia

                                                            Bolivia

                                                            Brazil

                                                            Venezuela

                                                            Ecuador

                                                            Chile

                                                            Peru and Argentina

In advanced economics (such as in USA, Britain, Japan and Canada) information technology has become more visible and more widely applied: thus revolutionizing the process of producing and reproducing data, information and knowledge, as well as distributing them.

Microprocessor- Fitted devices (products about everywhere in these countries and come in diverse configuration-wrist- watches, pocket calculators, electronic cash registers, computers and so on.

Thus operational activities within organization and their subsidiaries, as well as between them and their various public client; reporters, suppliers, shareholder, private and government agencies- are fast becoming and increasingly exciting experience (Okeke, 1999). Information technology (IT) is increasingly helping wake information an extremely mobile resource. Hence, for those media houses that have the facilities (that is IT resources) the world is fast shrinking into a distance less wond. 

1.2         STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

The advent of information technology (IT) in Nigeria had revolutionaries the information/communication sector of the nations economy media houses and media practitioner could as a result of this, transmit messages, ideas and information between one part of the country to another, and even across the national boundaries by the application of IT resources such as the facsimile (Fax) machine, the internet as well as the use of the global system for mobile communication (GSM) in Nigeria, however people seldom appreciate the benefit of IT resources especially in the information /communication sector.

Then questions then are: what are the areas of application of IT resources in media communication? How does the use of IT resource affect the operational efficiency of the Nigeria media houses? What are the constraints to effective utilization of IT resources in media communication in Nigeria? These questions presented the problem that necessitated this study.

1.3         OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The objectives of this study are as follows:

      i.          To identify the various areas of application of information technology (IT) resources in media communication.

     ii.          To ascertain the effect of the used of IT resources on the operational efficiency of the Nigeria media houses.

   iii.          To identify the constraints to effective utilization of IT resources in media communication in Nigeria.

   iv.          To suggest the strategies for surmounting these constraints.

1.4         RESEARCH QUESTIONS

1.              This study will be guided by the following research questions: - What are the areas of application of IT resources in media communication in Nigeria?

2.              How does the use of IT resources affect the operational efficiency of the Nigeria media houses?

3.              What are the constraints to effective utilization of IT resources in media communication in Nigeria?

4.              What are the strategies for surmounting the constraints/difficulties?

1.5         SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The findings and recommendations of this research, if implemented will benefit both the media houses and media practitioner in Nigeria. It will expose the media houses to the vast opportunities available in the areas of IT as regards information generation and dissemination.

This will reduce the cost of gathering and dissemination of information by the media houses/media practitioners. It would equally increase their number of Nigerians that would have access to vital information.

1.6         SCOPE AND DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The scope of this research border on information technology (IT) and media development in Nigeria, the bordering of this research also extended to include the various IT resources being used by the media practitioner and media houses in Nigeria. This research is limited to the staff of the Enugu and Lagos offices of Radio Nigeria and the guardian newspaper.  

1.7         THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

This focus and content of this research is predicated by the theory of inevitability of change as postulated by Faber (1979). According to this theory, the changes in technological inventions/innovations are inevitable, and when such changes occur, they tend to drive away the existing technological culture.


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