THE MASS MEDIA AS CHANNEL FOR CREATING AWARENESS AND MOBILIZING PUBLIC SUPPORT
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
Generally, all mass media organs in all established societies are expected to fulfill certain responsibilities and these obviously would include creating awareness and mobilizing public support towards governmental or public oriented programmes. Television, as a mass media organ, is equally expected to fulfill these functions as well. First of all, it would be necessary to explain what television as a medium of mass communication actually is. According to Janowitz, (1968) mass communication comprises the Institutions and techniques by which specialized groups employ technological devices press, radio, films, television etc. to disseminate symbolic contents to large, heterogeneous and widely dispersed audience, and television being an organ of mass communication employ technological devices to disseminate symbolic contents as it were to large, heterogeneous and widely dispersed audience.
How has television as a medium of mass communication been able to fulfill one of its responsibilities, the mobilization of public support, and the creation of awareness among the people has the Nigeria television expectations through its programmes? Both the federal and state governments have programmes that obviously require public support that would make it possible for them to realize their expectations. Programmes like the War Against Indiscipline, Environmental Sanitations, need to go back to the farms, payment of taxes, improved health services all require the support of members of the public for its success. One is not left in doubt as to the importance of television if these expectations of those in government are going to be realized.
The NTA, Enugu has a number of programmes and jingles that are specifically aimed at creating awareness and then mobilizing public support towards these programmes of both the federal and state governments. In the words of Mr. Jerry Ugwu of the NTA Enugu. “Ours is to get the people think along with the government through our programmes and jingles, I think the people are responding positively”. The success of any government programme depends largely on the amount of support it generates. Awareness and mobilization are no doubt very important variables in this regard. Perhaps this was why Wibbur Schramm in his book, on mass media and National development examined the various way people can be mobilized for national development.
According to him many developing countries mobilize their human resources to move heavy loads, more advance economics, would have been done by machines. A horde of men scrapping a new fair field or cutting a new road with raw hardy tools, lines of women carrying baskets of dirt or stones on their heads. Schramm feels that the best way to accomplish these tasks of mobilization of the people is through the mass media. Several writers, who had conducted empirical studies in some nations and regions, analysed in detail, the connection between media and development. Lerner’s study of mobilization in the Middle East, produced an empathic hypothesis of the ‘mobile’ or modern personal style or the capacity to see oneself in the other fellow’s situation. His concept of empathy is actually quite close to one use of social integration. He argued that high empathic capacity is the predominant personal style in modern society, which is a participatory society in that it functions by consensus. In such a society, there is a need for a transpersonal common doctrine made possible by shared secondary symbols. Coming down to television Authority (NTA) was established by an enabling decree in 1977.
The NTA, channel 8, Enugu is only an aim of the NTA zone C, which equally has its headquarters in Enugu. The general duties of the Authority according to the decree are
1. That it is the duty of the Authority to provide as a public service, in the interest of Nigeria, independent and impartial TV broadcasting for general reception within Nigeria.
2. The Authority shall ensure that the services, which it provides, when considered as a whole, reflect the same time give adequate expression of the culture, characteristics and affairs of each state, zone or other parts of the federation.
3. The decree equally emphasized the need on the part of the Nigeria Television Authority to contribute, through its programmes in creating awareness on the citizenry about governmental activities.
According to Mr. Jerry Ugwu the NTA Enugu Manager News and Current Affairs; meet the expectations of the farmers of the decree on NTA, particularly in creating the required awareness in the people, and again in mobilizing public support towards government programmes and activities.
2.1 IMPORTANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is important in the sense that it would enable readers to know the power of a television station in helping the authorities in the fulfillment of their expectations. It is only when government programmes and projects are given that support by the public that it will then be able to achieve the desired objectives and the television, happens to be a medium that can contribute quite enormously in meeting these expectation of government. The acclamation of television as powerful medium, as a result of its visual qualities, no doubt makes it a veritable tool for the mobilization of public support and the creation of awareness on the populace more so now that the governments of the federation have programmes and projects that require the support of the people. The study enabled me to know that the Nigerian Television Channel 8, Enugu, has been contributing a great deal in mobilizing public support for government programmes, by creating the required awareness in them.
This study is no doubt very unique in the sense that it dealt generally on the role of television as an organ of the mass media, and its responsibilities in creating awareness and mobilizing public support towards government activities. This obviously makes this study quite outstanding, since previous ones on television broadcasting. This study, as a result of its remarkable uniqueness, would make it possible for the populace particularly those that are at the helm of affairs know the power of television and the need to employ the services of television in the task of mobilizing public support towards government activities. It has been possible to highlight in this study the unique role the Nigerian Television Channel 8, Enugu is playing in the present programme being executed by both the federal and state government.
STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
As a medium of mass communication, the Nigeria Television, Channel 8, Enugu, is expected to create awareness in the populace and then mobilize their support towards government programmes and activities, especially now that we have an albeit corrective administration that wants to give this nation a new sense of direction that would enable them tackle the more serious problems facing the country i.e. economic, social and religious problems and then the question of restoring sanity to our public life. In order to tackle this problem successfully, both the federal and state government need the total and unalloyed support of the people and this all-important support would largely be possible through the efforts of the mass media that would create the necessary awareness in people and then mobilize their support towards government programmes.
Has the Nigeria Television Authority, Channel 8, Enugu through its programmes been able to create awareness among the people on issues that effect the people either as individual or a group?
How far has the Nigeria Television Authority, channel 8, Enugu been able to mobilize the support of the citizenry both the federal an state governments to wipe out all socials vices through the launching of the War Against Indiscipline or the efforts to resuscitate the economy of the economy of the state and country generally?
What are the different programmes, jingles excetra, which the NTA Enugu adopted that can convincingly be said to be aimed at creating awareness and at the same time mobilize the support of the public?
While conducting the study, the following words are frequently used: Television, Mass Media, Awareness, Channel, Public Support, Create, Mobilize and Citizenry. These words are conceptually and operationally defined.
For the effective study of this research work, two hypotheses were created. It would be necessary to first of all understand what a hypothesis is all about. Hypothesis is an idea put forward as a starting point for further investigation, a hypothesis when tested in the study.
H1: That the Nigerian Television Authority, Channel 8, Enugu has through its sprogrammes been able to create the required awareness in the people towards government activities.
H0: That the Nigerian Television Authority, Channel 8, Enugu has not, through its programmes been able to create the required awareness in the people towards government activities.
H2: That the Nigerian Television Authority, Channel 8, Enugu has contributed in projecting the activities of the various government agencies by mobilizing the support of the public towards their success.
H0: That the Nigerian Television Authority, Channel 8, Enugu has not contributed in projecting the activities of the various government agencies, through the mobilization of the support of the public towards the success of these government agencies.
AWARENESS: Cognizant or conscious (of) informed, aware of danger in the context of this project; awareness is used to further illustrate one of the important responsibilities of the mass media.
CHANNEL: A means of access, a course into which something may be directed, a route through which anything passes or progresses, channels of communication.
CREATE: This would conceptually mean to bring into being, cause to exist, produce (the necessary awareness on the public towards government programme an activities).
CITIZENRY: This conceptually would men citizens in a collective sense, who watch television programmes.
MOBILIZE: To be assembled, organized to put into motion. In the context of this research work, this would explain an important responsibility of the mass media via television. The mobilization of public supports for government activities and actions.
PUBLIC SUPPORT: This would mean conceptually, that television as a medium of communication can sustain, hold the goodwill of the people towards government activities.
TELEVISION: This would mean the broadcasting of a still or moving image via radio waves to receivers, which project it on a picture tube for viewing at a distance from the point of origin.
MASS MEDIA: This would conceptually mean the means of communication as radio, television, newspapers, magazines, excetra, that reach large number of people.
AWARENESS: As used in this research work, this would mean operationally, the ability of the N.T.A Enugu to educate the people about government activities.
CHANNEL: Operationally, this would mean the frequency by which the mass media, and television particularly is used as a means of mobilizing public support and creating awareness.
CREATE: In the context of this research work, this would operationally mean the ability of television to accomplish part of its responsibilities, which is to make people aware of issues and activities.
CITIZENRY: This operationally would mean the total number of people who watch N.T.A and who are eventually influenced through its programmes.
MOBILIZING: Operationally, in the context of this research work, this would mean the frequency by which television is used in mopping up support for government activities.
PUBLIC SUPPORT: This would mean the total score of the co-operation the public gives to government through the influence of television.
MASS MEDIA: Operationally, this would mean as used in this research work, the ability of the television, radio and newspapers to create awareness and mobilize support towards government activities.
The Nigerian Television Authority, Channel 8 Enugu, like all other television stations in the country, should in line with the enabling decrees, establishing the Nigerian Television Authority (N.T.A), ensure that the services, which it provides reflects the unity of Nigeria and the general development and its zone, and the country generally. The assumption is that N.T.A Enugu, like all other television stations in the country is expected to fulfill these responsibilities. The question is how is the N.T.A, Channel 8, Enugu been able to meet these expectations in the discharge of its responsibilities. The assumption is that N.T.A, Channel 8, Enugu is in a position to meet these expectations, especially the question of creating awareness and the mobilization of public support towards government programmes, since he enabling decree establishing it, protects it to fulfill these expectations.
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