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1.1 Background of the Study
This study will delve into an in-depth appraisal of role of television in the political mobilization of rural area in Nigeria. However, the Nigeria Electorate in recent years has always been in intensely individualistic group. Hence political parties will always confront profound culture differences. Given the cultural structure of the Nigerian electorate, the important of television programmes cannot be overemphasized. The role of television in political mobilization in the annulled 1993 presidential is one of the greatest challenges facing the electorate especially those in the rural areas. This also is a typical case of election malpractices that have been the lot of Nigeria elections.
Television on it’s own part is an electronic gadgets with the combination of sound and pictures. It is not effective spontaneous message carrier of our time. Its conciseness brings to the masses especially the rural dwellers in on the spot account of the event making it number one when compared to any other medium. Admittedly television may be expensive as to have it in every home or to be affordable to most people in the rural areas but when its ability to satisfy curiosity by allowing you see for yourself is not just an overstatement. Again its ability to disseminate information in our various dialects also serves as atomic to language barrier. Television as an integral part of the fourth estate of the realm, is expected as usual to play its traditional role as a watchdog of the society and as agent of change and innovations. In rural areas advertisement role on political trend aspirant responsiveness to the medium has become a major feature of campaigns for public office at national state and local government level. Most rural dwellers are known to be financially poor because of their low education status and cannot afford television sets. This has often been a problem to efficient and effective use of television in achieving political mobilization in the rural area. All things being equal, the term, television and political mobilization refers to all kinds of political services rendered to the populace to bring about information, Education, entertainment and influence in the rural dwellers. Apart from the general rule, it enhance and encourage through its various programmes the acquisition and pursuit of knowledge thereby promoting national consciousness and acts as a powerful means of social mobilization.
USES OF TELEVISION: Television has many uses other than broadcasting programmes at the home. For example, school, businesses, hospitals and many other Organizations use closed circuit television. In closed circuit Television, signal are set by way of wire to only certain television sets rather to all sets within the area that broadcast signals could reach. Since the late 1970s, such equipments as video cassette record, video dis players and personal computers have changed the way people use television in their homes. For example, television sets may be used for such purposes as playing electronic games and receiving televised information services, documentaries, discussion or talk shows and all kinds of sports events. Considering the fact that television is not only the means of communication let us have an overview of the various media of communication.
ASSESSMENT OF THE VARIOUS MEDIA :-Radio, Television magazine, pamphlets, posters, brochures and audio – visual aids are important media for conveying information simultaneously to a large population. They easily open the eyes of the people to the fact of mobilization. Radio especially, can reach people and be effectively used in many countries as instrument mobilizing communication. Television with its sight and sound characteristics can create insight which radio cannot. But Television has its limitations, its use is hampered by its very cast, only very few rural folks can afford the luxury of buying sets.
According to Rogers and Shoemaker, less reliance on mass media channels in less developed nations may be attributed to Low literacy, Lack of relevance of messages in the mass media channels that do exist (Op.cit, p.258) An overview of this assessment reveals to us that upon the benefits according to each of these media, there are still loopholes which stop them from doing perfectly the work for they are meant for considering these loopholes, one may be tempted to ask what is the future of television.
THE FUTURE OF TELEVISION:- The future of the television will be one of the constant and somewhat unpredictable change. The zapper, the hand-held remote control or changing the channel for muting the sound or changing the channel without leaving the chair or couch will continue to trouble advertisers and they will actively explore alternative media. Another aspect of television feature is that it is too difficult to predict its technology.
Looming on the horizon are a number of technology systems that will vastly extend the number of choices viewers will be able to make their homes. These includes a number of new ways of deliver. The signal via optic cables and telephone lines. Other innovations will enlarge and clarify the picture that viewers see.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The issue of media coverage of elections especially in the electronic media has always been a subject of considerable controversy in Nigeria. This issue is worsened by the diversity in culture and other social values among Nigerians. This obviously is the reason why the struggle to broadcast and control of the media as a means of gaining political power has remained an issue in Nigerian politics.
Political broadcasting tends to tilt in favour of the government of the day, however, with the deregulation of the industry, the trend changed, particularly with the nation’s return to democracy. This is obviously why many Nigerian broadcasting stations go all out to satisfy the interest of their owners during electioneering periods. Many Nigerians often accuse the media for not playing an independent role during electioneering periods as they often deny the oppositions the chance to use them in getting to the electorates. For instance, some all the broadcasting stations in Anambra state are owned by the government (including Radio Anambra) and during elections, they are used to serve the interest of the party in power. This it does contrary to Section 1.5.4 of the National broadcasting Commission’s code which deals on Political broadcasting.
The values and expectations of audience members in Anambra State which is the major catchment area of Television station in Anambra does not present a shift from the status quo and due to the differences in the psychological make up of the people, they exhibit varying perceptions when faced with political messages and they comprehend political messages differently even when they live in the same environment.
The problem remains, how does the audience rate the performance of Anambra broadcasting station(ABS) in the 2007 general elections? Were their operations effective from the period of electioneering campaign to the elections proper? Was the station biased in terms of favouring the ruling party and denying access to the oppositions? Was the station able to mobilize the audience through inducing attitudinal and behavioural change during the elections period?
The problems highlighted above make it imperative to examine the perception of the audiences of Anambra broadcasting station(ABS) in the station’s coverage of the 2007 general elections in the state.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The following objectives were drawn to set the base this research to ensure a better understanding and assessment.
1. To ascertain the level of coverage given to the 2007 General elections in Anambra State by Anambra State Broadcasting Service(ABS)
2. To ascertain the directional coverage of the elections by Anambra broadcasting station(ABS) with a view to ascertaining whether they were objective to all parties involved.
3. The find out the level of political influence in the station’s coverage of the elections if there were any.
4. To assess audience perception on the performance of Anambra broadcasting station(ABS) coverage of the 2007 elections in terms of functional duties and the effectiveness of its operations.
5. To find out if the ownership status of Anambra broadcasting station (ABS) affects her coverage of political issues like campaigns and elections?
1.4 Significance of the Study
This study will be of great significance to the following people and in the following ways.
a. The media from time immemorial are charged with various roles of informing and enlightening the public, so this work will be useful to them by encouraging the media to carry out their functions well, despite the challenges that they face from time to time.
b. The study will provide reliable feedback data on audience view of media coverage of elections and also provide its strengths and weakness which will serve as a tool for improvement in the media outfit including both electronic and print.
c. It will serve as a data base for Mass communication researchers and scholars who may be embarking on similar research in the future.
d. It will also avail political actors and players more and better information on the role of the media in electoral processes, especially on the coverage of elections.
1.5 Research Questions
The following research questions will be of guide to this study.
1. What is the level of coverage given to the 2007 general elections by Anambra State Broadcasting Service?
2. What is the direction coverage of the elections by Anambra broadcasting station(ABS)to ascertaining whether they were fair to all parties involved?
3. What is the level of political influence in the station’s coverage of the elections if there were any?
4. How does the audience of Anambra broadcasting station(ABS) perceive the station’s performance in terms of the coverage of the 2007 elections?
5. Does the ownership status of Anambra broadcasting station (ABS) affects her coverage of political issues like elections and campaigns?
1.6 Scope /limitation of the Study
It will be nugatory, attempting to study the whole of Nigeria as it relates to the perception of Nigerians to the media coverage of the last general elections in the country. This is so because apart from the fact that it will be too expensive to embark on such a research, the inability to measure the large number of people that will be involved posses another serious challenge. In view of this, this study would therefore be limited on one hand, to radio audiences in Anambra state; while on the other hand, it would be limited to the Anambra broadcasting station (ABS). Also, the refusal of the audience to fill the questionnaire posed another challenge. Time and finance was also a challenge, as the researcher could not go round in other to meet up with time.
1.8 Definition of terms
A clear understanding of major concepts in any study goes a long way in illuminating the reader views by engendering better comprehension.
Perception is meant to be a process by which we become aware of change in our environment through the senses. Perception about a thing or an issue leads
to opinion formation or change about that thing or issue. Perception is often selected support an inner consistency among a person’s beliefs, attitudes and value. These comments about perception together or separately contribute to opinion formation and change about an issue or something. From the semantic view point, the oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary defines it a belief you have as a result of how you see or understand something the way you notice things. In the context of this study, therefore, perception is seen as the way people view or think concerning an issue or something.
Audience is taken to be the group or selected number of people who watch, read or listen to the same thing. For this study we will take the audience to be the number of people who watches (sees) everything that has happened in the environment.
Coverage is the amount or way that (the media) covers an area. The coverage is to be taken from the 2007 election area.
Media Dictionary meaning sees it as the main ways which large number of people receives information. In the cause of this work, it’s taken to be the radio station where Anambra broadcasting station(ABS)falls under this media in disseminating information to large heterogenous audience.
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