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In several quarters, there have been allegation making rounds, that state governments use their state Broadcast media as propaganda machinery. The focus is to investigate such allegation using Akwa Ibom State Broadcasting Corporation (AKBC) radio/TV as a case study. The study was based on critical theory and Agenda setting theory. The study uses empirical method observing the five chapters’ structural arrangement, with each chapter assigned a specific role to play for the overall success of producing a reliable result. The researcher consulted relevant literature to raise secondary data while survey method was used to generate primary data for analysis with a study population of 847,500. Data were gathered using questionnaire from four hundred respondents. However, three hundred and forty copies were completed and returned valid for the study. Data were presented in tables and extensively discussed to enable the researcher draw his conclusion and make some recommendations. The researcher after careful analysis of data found out that the Akwa Ibom State Broadcasting Corporation are guilty of making use of propaganda and its techniques in disseminating information and also in its programmes.
1.1 Background of the Study
Broadcasting, according to Robert White (1999:485) was introduced as a form of military communication in the 1920’s, the apogee of nationalism and government propaganda. Dominick (1990:175) one of the striking facts about broadcasting is that it was invented by young people for example, Marconi who developed wireless transmitter was only twenty-three when he did that and Reginald Fessenden made his first radiophone broadcast when he was thirty-four. But, can the adult misuse or abuse broadcasting media because it was the brainchild of the young people? So it could be misused by the powers that be. Quoting Aiyetan (2002) Galadima (2003:260) “public office holders believe they can do anything and get away with it as long as they can control media, or get a good journalist to do the dirty job of lying with facts”.
Odumegwu Ojukwu, also observed thus:
When a public office holder does something outlandish, the media sing his praises instead of condemning him than concentrating on more important national or state issues. (cited by Gdadima, 2003: 261).
In a vehement support of Ojukwu’s Observation, Ternakur (2003:236) Citing Nwankwo (1987), describes the Nigerian mass media as “government said” media is not out of place. Government reflects the will and interests of the class that controls the existing mode of production, power bloc and political machinery in their media outfits.
Neither the government nor their media workers ever agree that they misuse the media. Every journalist disassociates himself or herself from the term “propaganda”. Under a free system, one can distinguish between journalist and a propagandist. Both are interested informers. But, journalists seek news and serve the producers of news and not the consumers of news. In the Nigerian government - owned media, journalists are propagandists. They use all known propaganda devices to achieve the aim of their pay-masters.
According to Junhao Hong, (1997:223), “Chinese government uses broadcast media to conduct propaganda campaigns”. The question is, is propaganda bad? In answer to this question, Ebeze (2003: 219) “Propaganda is not composed of lies and tell stories. It operates with many different kinds of truth, half-truths, limited-truths and truth out of context.”
Broadcasting media started in Nigeria in the 1930s. In April 1950, the RDS became the Nigerian Broadcasting Service and introduced radio stations in Lagos, Kaduna, Enugu, Ibadan, and Kano. This service was reorganized into the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) on April 1, 1957, by act of parliament. Its mission was to “provide, as a public service, independent and impartial broadcasting services”. Wikipedia (2018)
Akwa Ibom State Broadcasting Corporation (AKBC) UHF channel 45, is a state owned broadcast station in Uyo, Akwa Ibom. Akwa Ibom State Broadcating Corporation was established on April 4, 1988 and is the first and only local broadcast station. AKBC provides both television and radio services. It transmits in 90.528MHZ. Wikipedia (2018).
The Radio Service christened “Radio Ibom, FM stereo”, transmits on a frequency modulation of of 90.5MHz with a power output of 30 Kilowatts. AKBC Radio broadcasts at the average of 18 hours from 5:30am to 12:10am daily. The language of broadcast is English and Local dialects.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
All over the world, especially third world countries with less degree of free press, government has manipulated the masses using broadcasting media. Broadcasting is volatile and its potentials are unending satisfactions, as in print media. It has great potentials in information dissemination, education enlightenment, political socialization, and socio-cultural orientation. Most people form their opinions based on what they learned from the mass media. Regrettably, observed schramm (1971), quoted by Ebeze (200:221).
Forming an opinion becomes more difficult when a person does not have access to adequate information……..this information will help individuals form an opinion.
It has been seen that when masses are uninformed, or misinformed due too excessive censorship or punitive control measures of state owned media like the AKBC Radio, the public might react and take laws into their hands. For instance, between 2000 and 2002, there were instances when aggrieved media audiences in Anambra, Imo and Abia states resorted to jungle justice by invading and attacking Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) Awka, Imo Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) Owerri, and Broadcasting Corporation of Abia (BCA) Umahia. The attacks on the broadcasting media stations were as a result of unprofessional reportage of election news. The three mentioned broadcast stations are not alone in unprofessional broadcasting.
Since AKBC is a state government – owned broadcasting media station, it could be involved in state government propaganda machinery, like others. Therefore, the problem of this study is what the use of state broadcast media as propaganda by state government can cause to opinion formation, information need, education and political socialization of those who expose themselves to state broadcast media. The tendency of disinformation and propaganda, the type defined by Lasswell (1937) “Propaganda are techniques of influencing human actions by the manipulation of representation” are prone to exist in a society where government misuses the media.
Moguluwa (2004:159). Government must avoid any form of deceit and misleading information. But, government often prefers negative propaganda while seeking support from the masses to good public relations practice. Propaganda machinery in information dissemination has a lot of negative consequences on the media audience especially if it comes from state government via its media, so a study of this type cannot be ignored at this time.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The following are the objectives of this study:
1. To ascertain the level of viewership of AKBC by Akwa Ibom State residents.
2. To ascertain viewership knowledge of government control of AKBC.
3. To determine the nature of propaganda techniques employed in AKBC.
4. To examine viewership perception of those propaganda techniques.
5. To ascertain if viewership disposition to this propaganda affects their patronage of
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions will provide focus and direction towards major issues in the identified problem, and the questions are.
1. How often are Akwa Ibom State residents exposed to AKBC’s broadcast programs?
2. Are AKBC viewers aware of the state government’s control of the station’s activities?
3. What kind of propaganda techniques are employed in AKBC?
4. How do these viewers perceive these propaganda techniques employed?
5. Do viewers disposition to propaganda affect their patronage of AKBC?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The benefits of this study are numerous. The use of state broadcast media as propaganda machinery by State Governments, demands serious empirical investigation because of its significance. For example;
i. The study result will confirm whether state governments use state broadcast media as propaganda machinery.
ii. The study will expose the level of state government involvement in the management, and staff recruitment in the stations.
iii. The result of the study will serve as reference materials for further studies in management, government and mass communication.
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