PROJECT TOPIC: IMPACT OF RADIO IN PROMOTING POLITICAL PARTICIPATION, A STUDY OF UBAKALA COMMUNITY
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The participation can come in form of voting, rally, contesting, partnership, among others To embark on this task of electing leaders, people must be mobilized in order to get enlightened via enlightenment campaigns, sensitization, information dissemination and advocacy programmes directed at Community Leaders, Age Grades, Development Associations, Opinion Leaders, Artisan Guides and other grassroots movements in order to increase their awareness and foster attitudinal change towards active involvement and participation in politics. (Ikelegbe, 1995).
According to one of the political activists, Anthony Gramsci (1891-1937), “the ruling class or party through agent of socialization ( eg radio) indoctrinated others, their beliefs systems and values towards politics”.
This emphasize more on the need and advantages of radio in helping to educate people (rural people) on the aim of embarking on politics and the gain achieved from such in a persuasive and convincing mood to lure them into participation for such as it helps to build an organised and healthy and peaceful community, state, country and the world at large.
It is also known that the impact of radio manifests in emergence of political movements by instant group with aim to achieve objectives. This implies that radio aim at reaching the diversified and heterogeneous people (rural dwellers) in their various destinations simultaneously and also in their different language for both old and young to partake. This is because in most rural areas, old and young women are in a greater number (non-educated ones) and with their votes, one wins any election.
There are various ways one can participate in politics. These ways could be through political rally, partnership, contesting, criticism, voting and so on. The above participation means are very crucial in our rural areas, especially where we have a large country (eg Nigeria).
Because Nigeria consist of three major ethnic linguistics, therefore, the president will find it difficult to reach other people with odd dialect. Thus, they (rural dwellers) need a representative in government from their areas, who can reach government needs and demands to them in their languages. And, this can only be done when the people living in rural areas participate in political programmes and activities that is, in a democrat ic state.
From the above statement, Democracy stands as the most widely embraced system in politics and governance as means “Rule by the people,” which implies direct participation and representative terms of rule by the people. But, in most rural areas many people are still showing apathy, alienated, indifference to political participation especially cities populated by businessmen.
The more information and education even enlightenment on the importance of political participation are made known to the rural people, the more interest, sympathy and joy they derive from participating in it by the greater extent of the knowledge they acquire about it.
To enhance an effective governance and societal welfare especially in the developing countries of the world also known as Third World Countries, radio has taken the lead amongst the mass media as the cheapest (Transistor Radio) and portable medium, being most effective in relaying peoples’ matters to the government for problem solving and as well encourages and attracts development through mobilization, enlightenment and education by persuading them or inducing them to comply in the participation.
A democratic society without a mass media e.g radio, is referred to as deaf and blind man that neither hear or see what goes on in the society. That is to say, any man without a radio in his house to enlighten him about the
happenings in the society is deaf while hearing and blind while seeing. For we have come to forceful believe and accept the assertion that without massive medium (radio) in a democratic state, that democracy is doom.
During election, mass media, in order to promote political participation, uses the issue or problem in the area to lure the people to actively participate. This could be a promise of establishing a Good Water Supply, Electricity, Building of Health Centers and others. According to the Agenda-setting function which states that people should not bother on what to think but act on what to think about.
Thus, the provision of Electricity to a rural area helps the people to concentrate on the developmental aspect of the issue, mobilize and organize themselves on how to vote the person into office in order to achieve their objectives.
In most Third World Countries (rural community), Radio Broadcasting is the most effective mass communication medium in reaching the masses both in the rural and urban areas as it transcends geographical, linguistics and other traditional barriers.
DEVELOPMENTAL ERA OF RADIO.
Broadcasting in Nigeria through radio dates back to the year 1933. A Radio Broadcasting station was also established by the British colonial government
through its Public Relations Office in Lagos. Thus, the broadcast media (Radio) in Nigeria had their roots and the relaying of the British Empire Service (BES) from Daventry in England. This means that the British Broadcasting Service helps in relaying programmes and news to her Majesty’s Servant here in Nigeria.
However, the radio station was not a full-fledged radio station, though, monitored and relayed programmes for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Programmes were originated and transmitted from London, to Nigeria subscribers by telephone wires.
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) as an example of Public Radio Corporation that is autonomous and independent, relayed purely British programmes, though, sometimes they tailored the programmes to suit the taste of Nigeria listeners.
According to Nwanze I. (2003), “
The British Colonial Government initiated Radio Broadcasting to link colonial territories with Britain, to serve as a propaganda machinery.”
The word ‘propaganda’ as used in the above assertion, emphasizes on the relevant need of establishing radio for political reason as false ideas or exaggerated statements that the British Colonial Government used to dominate colonial territories for Britain in order to gain support for political leader, party etc.
In 1936, Nigeria Radio Broadcasting was established by the opening of Seven Radio Distribution Services(REDIFFUSION) in Lagos to disseminate news and programmes, which originated from BBC London to the Lagos studio.
The programmes were disseminated to various diversified audience through boxes where they were received by subscribers who paid some amount of money in advance as subscription fees for the purpose of listening to the programme. (Nwanze 2003).
In 1951, the Nigeria Broadcasting Service (NBS) was established as an arm of the Ministry of Information, which served as a relay station, working closely with the BBC and relaying national news and other programmes from London. It also has every qualities of the past except the name that changed.
Earlier in 1956, through an Act of parliament No 39 (of 1956), the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) was established on 1st April 1957.
In 1957, Radio Broadcasting in Nigeria assumed some importance to the Nigerian audience, as programmes were made to suit the taste of the listeners in Nigeria. It was believed that the proper arrival of radio in Nigeria was as first Radio Distribution service (REDIFFUSSION) in Lagos.
In 1979, the Federal Military Government through the instrumentality of Decree No. 8 of 1979 (with retrospective effect from 1st April 1978) restructured the NBC and former Broadcasting Corporation of Northern Nigeria (BCNN) and this led to the establishment of the federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria(FRCN). The objective of which to be the promotion of orderly and meaningful development of broadcasting in Nigeria through improvement in programming, etc. (Nwanze 2003).
Since the emergence of radio in Nigeria, it has become a formidable force in Nigeria politics. No Nigerian politician, parties or government has carried any activity meant for the masses without employing the services of the radio.
Since second Republic, Nigeria has had sudden increase in the number of state owned radio stations. Some states, today, have two radio stations transmitting on AM and FM bands which government use for the dissemination of their policies, news and programmes.
In August 1994, Raypower 100 FM was established in Lagos as the first privately owned radio station in Nigeria by DAAR communications limited. In the year 1995, Minaj System, Obosi, in Anambra state, was granted license to establish and operate private radio station. Minaji became the second private owned radio station in Nigeria. Since then, several other private owned radio stations have been granted the privilege to operate in the country. (Nwanze, 2003).
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM.
This study is embarked on to discover what radio has contributed or how radio will help in mobilizing and enlightening the people of Ubakala community in Umuahia South Local Government Area (rural people) to participate in political programmes. But, there are some problems caused by communication and other social problems.
There are problems of apathy, indifference or alienated on the people towards political activities and programmes. Most citizens show no interest and do not contribute their opinions or information about political issues in general. Majority of the people show no interest, but few minority give attention to political issues that even concern them.
To solve the problem stated above, we need information campaign, which helps to breakdown any barrier to politics and as well win the acceptance and support of people. But at the side of Ubakala community, there is lack of this information campaign by the media operators. This information campaign involves Educating, mobilizing and sensitising the host community to fully participate in politics.
One of the problems was pre-project research. Pre-project research entails going down to the people, mixing with them and finding out their different characters, styles and the priority of their participatory need. ( Des Wilson, 2003).
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
There are many objectives for this study, that aimed at finding out the impact of radio in promoting political participation among the rural people.
These objectives are as follows:
- To discover how effective radio has been or will be in influencing political participation in Ubakala community in Umuahia South Local Government Area of Abia State.
- To find out the effectiveness of radio in mobilizing the rural populace to participate in politics.
- To discover all the existing channels of communication in Ubakala community.
- To find out the most effective and accessible channels of communication among Ubakala people.
- To know whether there is preference for a particular type of media.
- To find out whether the whole communities are resistant to radio message on political participation, or give their support to them.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will help to create awareness on the role mass media (radio) play during or before election to persuade and enlighten the rural people in the political activities and participation, and bringing to limelight the responsibilities of radio as an aid to government and electoral commission in integrating urban and rural dwellers into political process.
This study will help to know how effective radio can be when used in implementing political oriented programmes and other programmes meant for people living in rural areas.
The contestants and the electoral body will be opportuned to see and be convinced of the relevance of correct choice and selection of communication channels involving the whole community or rural dwellers in executing any political programme.
When this research study is readily made, it will serve as a point of reference or consultation for ;present and future study in terms of media strength and selection.
Finally, this study will ginger, encourage and motivate people of Ubakala to participate in politics and the media operators on how to channel their messages to reach their target audience in rural areas.
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES.
To actualise the objectives of this study, the following hypotheses are drafted thus:
H1: The role of radio is so important that compared to other media of communication in influencing people of Ubakala.
Ho: Radio has played no important role compared to other media of communication in influencing people of Ubakala.
H2 : People of Ubakala prefer radio to other media of communication.
H0: People of Ubakala do not prefer radio to other media of communication.
H3 : The effectiveness of radio made the people of Ubakala to have much access to it than other media.
H0 : Radio is not effective in Ubakala, thus, the people have more access to other media than radio.
H4 : People of Ubakala react positively to radio programmes on political issues.
H0: People of Ubakala react negatively to radio programme on political issues.
1.6 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
The theoretical framework of this research is based on the Agenda-setting theory of the mass media.
Agenda-setting theory of mass media argues that mass media may not always be successful in telling people what to think, but they are usually successful in telling people what to think about.
This theory was developed in 1970 by Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw after their study of media role in the 1968 presidential election of the United states. The theory which confirmed that the power of the press to decide the agenda of public discourse and debate is quite potent. The amount of attention given to an issue in the press affects the level of importance assigned to that issue by consumers of mass media messages.
Agenda-setting refers to the way the media set the order or importance of current issues, especially in the reportage of news. When we say radio has an impact on agenda-setting, we mean that it has the ability to choose and emphasize certain programmes and issues, thereby causing the public (rural dwellers) to perceive these issues as important.
This process makes the mass media prepare and present their messages in the mood to set their agenda, by attaching importance to the issues at hand and arousing the interest of the target audience to the issues.
Thus, during political activities, the mass media pinpoint on the need for the masses to partake in politics and nothing else. Mass media (radio) for promoting political participation, concentrate on informing the people (rural dwellers) to make formal choice on whom they want and to contest or by inducing them to participate in any of the political activities of their choice.
Because of the importance people bestowed on mass media, they were able to reject their feelings on them (the masses). Lang and Lang (1959) were of similar opinion when they wrote :
The pledges, promises and information in the mass Media became the only contact many have with politics. The pledge, promises and Rhetorics in news, stories, columns and editorials contain much information upon which a voting decision has to be made.
Mc Combs and Shaw (1972) contributed that in choosing or displaying news stories, news room staff and Broadcasters play an important part in shaping political reality. Readers or listeners learn not only about a given issue, but show
much importance to attach to the issue at hand from the effect of the message in the news stories.
The Agenda-setting theory of mass media is supposed to explain the house style of Broadcast medium (radio) and emphasize on the event as the listening audience are influenced to see the message important.
This theory, while not denying that the media messages influence the audience, stress that the influence is more on the Cognitive level than the Affective and Behavioural level.
Walter Lippman asserted that “The world we have to deal with is “out of reach”, “sight”, “out of mind,” and that our acquaintances with this remote part of our world is established by the media. The media does more than familiarized us with our environment, immediate and remote”.
Mc Combs and Shaw (1972) and lang and lang (1968) said that “media emphasis is what attracts our attention in the first place before learning takes place”.
Benard Cohon (1963) summarizes the media agenda- setting role in this world. He stated Agenda-setting role as may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling people what to think about.
In other words, the media set the agenda for public thoughts and discussions. He also states that “The World looks differently to different people depending not only on their experiences and interests, but also on the map drawn for them by the medium they use”.
The media Agenda-setting theory is not, however, automatic, but it depends on certain facts which some researchers had called “Contingency Orientation”.
Inter-personal discussions, high level of media use, and uncertainty on issues in question were seen to facilitate Agenda-setting.(Wogu, 2004).
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS.
There are some outstanding terms in this work with their appropriate definitions given.
It is defined as the main way that large or heterogeneous numbers of people receive information and entertainment, that is, radio etc.
They are means through which political programmes and issues are disseminated or received in Umuahia (Urban ) and Ubakala (rural) communities.
They are the sources of information and news such as radio, etc., that reach and influence large numbers of people.
They are the agents of mass communication which help in reaching or disseminating information and influencing heterogeneous numbers of people in rural and urban areas eg. Ubakala community.
A piece of equipment used for listening to programmes that are broadcast to the public.
The process of receiving and broadcasting messages through the air to listening audience in rural and urban communities using Electromagnetic waves.
This can be defined as the part of a country that has not been developed.
This is an underdeveloped or less developed areas of the countryside that made up of communities, but lack the needed facilities and infrastructural development like; Electricity, pipe-borne water, Hospitals, etc. eg. Ubakala.
This means the large number of people living in the areas that are connected with or like the countryside, that is less developed.
They are men and women who live in less developed part of the country like Ubakala.
This can be defined as the activities involved in getting and using power in public life, and being able to influence decisions that affect a country or a society.
This is the activity involved in by the people living in the areas as a direct participation in running government affairs of taking part in the exercise that will influence or affect the nation, state and community.
This is an act of organizing a group of people to work together in order to achieve a particular aim.
This is an act of organizing a group of people especially in a rural community like Ubakala to participate in political exercise in order to achieve needed development in the community and to change their wrong motives about politics.
This is the act of taking part in an activity or event in order to achieve a particular goal.
This is the act of taking part or being involved in political activities or events by the people of Ubakala in order to get their decision makers or representa
and development in the communities.