THE INFLUENCE OF COMMUNICATION ON THE POLITICAL BEHAVIOUR OF THE MASSES
(A CASES STUDY OF TRANSITION GOVERNMENT OF ENUGU STATE 2010/
This research is survey research on the influence of communication on the political behaviour of the masses. A study of the transition programmes using the last April, 2011 general election in Enugu Metropolis as a case study. A total of 201 respondents shall be drawn from five (5) different zones of the Enugu Metropolis. The zones are Awkwunanu, Asata, Emene, Independence –Layout, Trans- Ekulu.
Simple percentages shall be used in presenting the results of the research questions.
The research will reveal that the print broadcast and interpersonal communications influence the electorates voting behavior during the April, 2011 general election. It will also reveal that government media relay political information with higher credibility than that relayed by the privately owned media. It will also find that interpersonal communication has the greatest influence on the political behaviour of the masses.
Equally, it will disclose that the election of media for political information depends on the level of income.
Similarly, it will reveal that interpersonal communication was the most frequent used means of communication during the April, 2011 general government election.
Finally, people understand the political information relayed through interpersonal communication than either broadcast or print media because of the nature of its language.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.1 Background of Study
1.2 Statement of Problem
1.3 Need for the Study
1.4 Significant of study
1.5 Research Question
1.6 Definition of Terms
1.7 Limitation of the Study
1.8 Theoretical Foundation
3.1 Research Design
3.2 Sample Design
3.3 Source of Data `
3.4 Method of Data Collection
3.5 Reliability of the Study
4.2 Research Questions
4.3 Data Analysis
Summary of findings conclusion and recommendations
5.1 Summary of findings
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Communication is derived from the verb “communicate” which means to pass on. To communication is an act of imparting or transmitting. It can also be viewed as the means/ process of the relevant results of the process of conveying information from one place to another place or unit (the unit being social such as persons, groups or mechanism such as computers).
In the lower animals communication goes on through emotional crises, body movement and forms of signals which are common to them. In social psychology, communication is generally restricted to denoting the type of interaction process whereby human participants are both initiators and recipients of information.
Communication is also the motor and expression of social activities and civilization. It leads people from instinct to inspiration through variegated processes and system of enquiry. It creates common pool of ideas, strengthens feelings and thought into action, reflecting every emotion. Infact, communication maintains and animates life. As a results of the importance attached to communication and technologies advances on the world of today, communication has developed into mass communication. Mass communication is a process of reaching out to a mass audience with information through mediated channels. The channels include radio and television, other wise known as the electronic media. Newspaper magazines periodicals and books (the print media). These are channels through which a variegated audience with diverse characteristic, social – economic status, educational level, cultural background, perception capabilities, belief systems. sex differentiations and age limit are reached simultaneously mobilized and other sorts of functions which are well beyond realms. The purpose of the mass media is to achieve development through effective communication with the desired audience.
The main purpose of communication is to let the target audience decode that is to receive and understand and send a feed back which will enable the encoder (sender) to known how the message was perceived by the audience.
The add more to the importance of mass communication, a mass communication scholar, marshal Mchuham said of the process of communication that “the medium is the message” this necessitates the case study of which medium (the broadcast, print and interpersonal communication) has greater influence on the political behaviour of the masses.
Consequently, broadcast media which are part of mass communication play vital role. Thus, through the broadcast media the government and political parties send their message across to the people in a manner that they would understand.
Today, many people in the country have radio and television sets from where they learn of government programmes.
Happily, most of the programmes are now being broadcast in subtle English and local languages. moreso, the print media are not left out.
Today, many newspapers and magazines act as agents of mobilization although they are elite oriented. The problem of the print unlike its counter part the broadcast is two, folds (a) mass literacy and (b) high cost of the newspaper.
Due to the high level of / literacy in the country, many Nigerians, especially those in the rural areas, do not read newspaper.
Again, not many can afford to spend about hundred and fifty Naira (N150) to buy a copy of a newspaper on a daily basis.
Another means of communication is the interpersonal medium. This medium of information seems to be quicker and wide spread. It is used by the government and parties in mobilizing the masses during elections. The information here is widely disseminated through town unions, age grades, woman and youth groups during political ralies. Any information collected or received by an individual is quicker shared by others. There are wide specializations that this medium has the greatest influence on the people. Nigeria with vast population of people and with about 70% of her population being moralities still make adequate use of oral media in information dissemination.
The use of town criers is still very popular and they are still very much regarded as agents of mass mobilization for elections and transition programmes as the case may be.
THE MEDIA UNDER THE TRANSITION PROGRAMME
By the time the Goodluck Jonathan launched its transition porgrmme on October 1, 2010, it was under severe pressure, from both local and foreign media to hand over power to an elected government. With the emergency of private radio and television station coupled with the proliferation of the print media. There was no doubt that the government was finding it difficult to cope with the situation. There was strong indication that the government was trying to make amends to please the media practitioners some of the banned or prescribed media houses were proscribed and let out of stage due to poor funding, the various government newspaper houses across the country are either out of circulation or only a mere shadow of themselves. The reason is very clear. These papers being the month piece of the government devote their pages on government views and ignoring the real aspiration of the people.
On the other hand the proliferation of newspapers and magazines is born out of the desire of the owners to give the populace the otherside of the situation in the country. These privately owned newspaper and magazines are patronized by the people. The government has been able to counter the propaganda of the foreign media due to lack of effective voice.
The voice of Nigerian set up to sell Nigeria to the world is handicapped by lack of fund, equipment motivation, interest and understanding the role of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigerian (FRCN) and the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). The two bodies are grossly under funded and as such they cannot effectively counter local and foreign media propaganda, we are yet to see a government in this country whether at state or federal level since independence that understanding the role of broadcasting in a developing country.
To a large extent, the government sees listeners and viewers of programmes Churn of by its various media of information as captive broadcasting audience who are largely ignorant in most cases, confused, given to the constant of what is fed to them.
For the government media to successfully counter foreign and local programmes, it has to fund its media houses, emergence of private broadcast media. It is likely that the people will shift attention to them than the government owned media which tend to only government sides of a story.
The government needs the media to promote its transition programme and enlighten the people in order to achieve national development, peace and unity of the country.
INFLUENCE OF THE MEDIA ON TRANSITION PROGRAMME: AN OVERVIEW
There is no doubt that the media, that is, the print, broadcast and interpersonal communication, are vital for the success of the transition programme. Without the media, there is no other way that government can mobilize the populace for the transition programme. A part from their transitional responsibilities of informing, educating and entertaining the people, the media whether owned by the government or not, have of the transition programme. However, many of the media houses are in shambles they go on and off transition because of the absence of needed Equipments. Those that manage to be on have been contending with obsolete equipments. The results is usually muffled and noisy programmes which are hardly received or well digested by the audience. With the infiltration of the awareness by clandestine radio stations, the need to equip government media houses becomes imperative. These media houses require facilities and well motivated staff to neutralize the negative influence of the private radio stations.
INFLUENCE OF BROADCAST MEDIA
Today, there are about thirty five radio and twenty-nine (29) television houses in Nigerian owned by the government. these broadcast media broadcast daily programmes within their localities, until 1989, the government had monopolized the ownership of broadcast media in Nigeria.
The influence of the broadcast media is tremendous because it reaches the grass roots. There are about 20 million radio sets and less than 12 million television sets in Nigeria. equally it is estimated that about twenty people benefit or share one of each set. This number out stripe the numbers set by the NNESCO.
Many Nigerians believe in what is said on radio and television and as such they can be said to have great influence on the people.
Although the government know this, it has been difficult for it to provide enough fund for the running of its broadcast media.
THE PRINT MEDIA
The influence of the print media is also enormous. Since 1991, the number of newspaper and magazine in the country has increased tremendously. Today, there are over 35 newspaper and about 20 news magazines are privately owned and they, most of the times, publish anti-government stories.
As Nigeria newspaper and magazines are read by elites who have great influence on the masses, there is the danger that these elites can use their influence in the society to manipulate the masses. The thinking of the elites based, on newspaper reports can greatly influence the people during the transition programme. In all the pivot media have a role to play under the transition programme.
Before the interpersonal of the modern forms of communication, Nigerians of various cultures had their own media of information. They include talking, drum, masquerades, town union and traditional chiefs.
These types of communication are either known as traditional or conventional media.
Through those media, local government are informed of government programmes.
They can ask questions which may immediately be answered by their commonly leaders. Interpersonal communication if judiciously utilities can have great impact on the behaivour of the people and influence mass participation in the transition programme.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Politics started in Nigeria since the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria to form the Federal Republic of Nigerians. Since then, Nigeria has passed through various transition programmes starting from the first republic to this 4th republic. These transitions have been characterized by problems ranging from political apathy to ignorance and bandwagon effects to ensure the successful completion of the current transition to civil rule programme therefore, the media is believed to have laudable role to play. However, opinions are divided among experts and observers as to which channels have great influence on the masses.
There is therefore, the need to find out the degree of the influence of broadcast, print and interpersonal communication on the political behaviour of the masses.
NEED FOR THE STUDY
The study is geared towards finding the extent to which the broadcast, print and interpersonal communication is responsible for the growth of the political awareness on Nigerian.
It has also been mentioned earlier that it is not media of communication exerts influence. The outcome of the study will therefore help to determine this. It will also help the operators of media to know their stands on their efforts to impact political knowledge to the people. Equally, the media will be useful to politicians and the government who will now use them in disseminating political information and campaign to the people.
The result will add to the literature on the area of mass communication and political science. It will then be useful to mass communication students, researcher and scholars as well as political scientists.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study intends to compare the various source of information and find out which, among the broadcast, print and interpersonal communication has the greatest influence on the political behaviour of Nigeria during the transition process. It focuses specifically on changes of political behaviour of the people during transition programme.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTION
To tackle the problems highlighted on this project a number of questions will be pertinent and could be posed as follows:
1. What is the role of communication on the political behaviour of the people.
2. To what extent do people believe on the political information they receive from various channels during the transition programme from 1991 to 2011.
3. Do the government media exhibit more credibility in disseminating political news than the private media.
4. Does the economic status have any positive contribution to the choice language in breaking the barrier to the understanding and appreciation of political information by the people.
1.6 DEFINITION OF TERMS
1. Channel: This is instrument through which mass media message, are disseminated which include radio, television, newspapers, traditional and other means of mass communication.
2. Broadcast Media: this is the transition of information through wireless system. It comprise the television and radio.
3. Interpersonal Communication: This is the passing of information between two or more people.
4. Communication: this is the act of imparting news information from sources to audience which may be spoken, written and visual presentation of information.
5. Political Behaviour: Reaction to or towards political development. It could also mean general reactions to political news or development within our encouragement.
6. Print Media: By this it means all forms, of printed information, materials for education purposes and include books, newspaper, magazines and periodicals.
7. Mass Communication: This is the dissemination of information through broadcast, print and traditional media for public or mass consumption.
1.8 THEORETICAL FOUNDATION
Looking back in 1964 over journalism in Nigeria since its inception more than a century ago, former president Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, himself one of the greatest Nigeria Journalist drew attention to the look of pioneers of the Nigerian press the history of whose activities is identical with the intellectual and material with the intellectual and material developments of this country , Nigeria. The galaxy of immortal journalist produced by Nigeria, Azikiwe believed had played their part in the part of the world in the great crusade for human freedom. This glowing tribute emphasis the fact, widely acknowledge by writers on Nigeria, that the newspaper press has been a significant force in national development.
J. S Colemna in Nigeria, background to nationalism assets that there can be little doubt that nationalist newspaper and pamphlets have been among the main influences in the awakening of racial and political consciousness Kalu Ezera in constitutional development in Nigeria. speaks about the influence of the press on constitutional reform during the outer and post war years.
This is a survey of the development of the mass media (newspaper, radio and television broadcasting) and government information service from the beginning to 1965. when certain non-African philanthropic interests published the first newspaper in Nigerian in the 1880s and 1860s the aim was primarily to increase the level of literacy, the newspaper, advertised the advantage of the acquisition of knowledge through reading short stories and didactic essay on various subjects, the emphasis was on literary content and political was secondary, if not incidental. African inheritors of the newspaper and other media idea were also impressed by the needs of philantrophy and the newspaper often carried literary matter, but because Africans were derived effective participation in government and wanted to influence the trend of events and realize their dreams of greater racial identify and dignity their anxiety centered on the demands of political and nationalist persuasion of propaganda. It is therefore, not surprising that the early press was essential a political press.
What concerned the media men and educated elites on general therefore was not merely that people should acquire knowledge but that the knowledge should be such as to form the basis of strong public opinion which the colonial government could not ignore, inevitably, therefore, the press and the media at large took on the role of opposition to the government. It encourages a sense of political and nationalist awareness and involvement by providing the medium of criticism of the authorities, spreading disaffection with aspects of officials policies and progrmmes and co-ordination movements of agitation. This is the theoretical foundation upon which this study could be used.
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