THE ROLE OF TELEVISION IN THE POLITICAL MOBILIZATION OF RURAL AREAS IN NIGERIA( A CASE STUDY OF NJIKOKA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF ANAMBRA STATE

THE ROLE OF TELEVISION IN THE POLITICAL MOBILIZATION OF RURAL AREAS IN NIGERIA( A CASE STUDY OF NJIKOKA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF ANAMBRA STATE

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                                                              CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

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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