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PROJECT TOPIC- IMPACT OF UNITY FM HUMAN RIGHTS ANGLE PROGRAMME ON THE CREATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AWARENESS AMONG PEOPLE OF EBONYI STATE: A STUDY OF RESIDENTS IN ABAKALIKI METROPOLIS

PROJECT TOPIC- IMPACT OF UNITY FM HUMAN RIGHTS ANGLE PROGRAMME ON THE CREATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AWARENESS AMONG PEOPLE OF EBONYI STATE: A STUDY OF RESIDENTS IN ABAKALIKI METROPOLIS.

Abstract

Human rights issues have continued to occupy a central place in state, national and international fora. Observers have continued to express concerns on whether the Nigerian public are actually aware of their fundamental human rights. It is also the opinion of some, that the media are not doing enough to educate the people on what constitute their basic rights. Here lies the kernel of this study which tries to measure

the impact of Unity FM Human Rights Angle Programme on the creation of human rights awareness among people of Ebonyi State, using residents of Abakaliki metropolis as a focal point. Structured questionnaire was used as the basic instrument for the collection of data for the purpose of this study. A sample size of two hundred and forty persons was used in carrying out this research. The two hundred

and forty persons were selected from twelve major streets that make up Abakaliki metropolis. However, only the returned questionnaire of two hundred and thirty five persons was analyzed and used for this study. The other five questionnaires were either wrongly filled or lost in transit. The collected data were analyzed using tables, percentages and chi-square. The study reveals that the programme in question is

making great effort in making people of Ebonyi State aware of their human rights. Based on research findings, it is therefore recommended that the frequency and duration of the programme transmission should be increased, as this would give room for robust debate, discussion and analysis of issues, which would eventually lead to the massive enlightenment of the audience. It was also recommended that other mass media outfits in Ebonyi State should complement the effort of Unity FM in educating the people on what constitute their human rights.

PROJECT TOPIC- IMPACT OF UNITY FM HUMAN RIGHTS ANGLE PROGRAMME ON THE CREATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AWARENESS AMONG PEOPLE OF EBONYI STATE: A STUDY OF RESIDENTS IN ABAKALIKI METROPOLIS.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1  Background of the Study

Discussions and issues relating to human rights have continued to occupy a pride of place at state, national and international fora. This is fundamentally because societies are made up of human beings who do not only have natural rights but must be free to exercise them without let or hindrance for the purpose of continuity and public good. The concept of human rights therefore derives from the natural

rights of man such as the right to life, the rights to freedom of speech and the right to acquire properties. In the words of Gauba (2004:282), “Human rights are those rights to which an individual is entitled by virtue of his status as a human being… Human rights constitute the very source of all rights of human beings”. Still elucidating on the concept of human rights, Gauba (2004:282) continued “while civil,

political and social-economic rights are dependent on an individual’s status as a citizen of a particular state, his human rights are not determined by this condition”. However, the fact that human beings are social animals who live in a geographically defined area, brings to the fore the task before the media in such societies. With the numerous advantages associated with the mass media (including the ability to

reach a wide range of people simultaneously), it has become imperative to use the mass media in the creation of human rights awareness.

From this point, it therefore behoves the media to among others:

  1. Inform, educate, sensitize and conscientize the people of their rights and privileges as citizens of a given state.
  2. Increase the people’s knowledge on how best to exercise their rights.
  3. Equip the citizens on how to protect their rights from gross violation.

On this score, the media becomes a training ground on which citizens are made to appreciate the degree of responsibilities attached to the exercise of such rights since it is commonly said that one’s rights ends where another one’s rights starts. Also, in line with the social responsibility philosophy of the mass media, media stations produced and present various programmes to suit the psychographical and demographical

realities of the audience group. As stated earlier, human rights issue has continued to dominate international affairs and politics. International bodies like the United Nations had on various occasions, condemned in very strong terms, the human rights record of some countries. In fact, governments have been dethroned for various reasons which principally include poor human rights records. Examples of

such presidents include Adolf Hitler of Germany, Sadam Hussein of Iraq, and Charles Taylor of Liberia among others. A country’s human rights records, to a very large extent, determine the degree of bilateral relation or aids she can enjoy from other nations of the world. It is in recognition of the importance of human rights, that many countries including Nigeria have established a human rights commission. In

Nigeria, this commission is known as the National Human Rights Commission. The commission is saddled with the onerous responsibility of investigating human rights abuses and taking appropriate actions which include assisting victims of human rights violation and seeking appropriate redress and remedies on their behalf.

It is important to note at this moment, that Unity FM Human Rights Angle, is not just packaged to inform or educate the public, but also aimed at creating massive awareness about human rights issues. The programme is also aimed at setting agenda for public debate on human rights issues in Ebonyi State. In most cases, issues like widowhood practices as obtained in communities in Ebonyi State, women empowerment, outdated cultural practices, police brutality, violation of people’s rights by the powers that be among others are closely looked into.

PROJECT TOPIC- IMPACT OF UNITY FM HUMAN RIGHTS ANGLE PROGRAMME ON THE CREATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AWARENESS AMONG PEOPLE OF EBONYI STATE: A STUDY OF RESIDENTS IN ABAKALIKI METROPOLIS.

1.2  Statement of Problem

Despite the packaging and transmission of Unity FM Human Rights Angle Programme, many people, are of the opinion that majority of Ebonyians and indeed Nigerians, still do not know what constitute their fundamental human rights and how to seek for a redress, when their rights are violated.

          This study is therefore aimed at measuring/accessing the quality of impact or otherwise of Unity FM Human Rights Angle Programme on it’s target audience, using residents of Abakaliki metropolis as a focal point.

1.3  Objectives of the Study

The aim of this research effort is to among others:

  1. Stimulate interest in this area of study by drawing relationship between the media and human rights issues.
  2. Examine media input on public attitude.
  3. Interpret human rights issues within our socio-cultural and political contexts.
  4. Examine the degree at which the media set agenda for public debate.
  5. Find out if Unity FM Human Rights Angle Programme is well packaged as to elicit the desired attitudinal change on residents of Abakaliki metropolis.
  6. Find out if residents of Abakaliki metropolis listen to Unity FM Human Rights Angle Programme.Significance of the Study

This study is important in the following ways:

  1. It would create and arouse interest on human rights issues.
  2. It would also go a long way in contributing to the existing debate on media effect/impact.
  3. It would position human rights not just as a legal/political concept, but as an issue that will stand as a challenge to the professional ingenuity of media practitioners.
  4. To situate radio programmes (in this case human rights programmes) within the confines/purview of academics.
  5. It pries into audience analysis, just as it positions the audience as the sole determinant of the nature, scope, style, quality and quantity of media programmes.
  6. It underscores the radio as a veritable/powerful tool in agenda setting going by its uniqueness and peculiarities.
  7. Results from this study would make media practitioners more responsible, responsive and proactive in their social responsibility function.
  8. Finally, since every research work is aimed at contributing to the development of knowledge, this study will go a long way into filling the knowledge gap in this field of study.

1.4  Research Questions

The following research questions would serve as a guide in the course of this study:

  1. Does Unity FM Human Rights Angle Programme discuss human rights issues as it affects Ebonyians?
  2. Do Ebonyians expose themselves to Unity FM Human Rights Angle Programme?
  3. Does the packaging and transmission of Human Rights Angle Programme align with the political and social-cultural realities of Ebonyians?
  4. Does Unity FM Human Rights Angle Programme impact on the attitude of Ebonyians?
  5. Does Unity FM Human Rights Angle Programme create awareness on human rights issues in Ebonyi State?

PROJECT TOPIC- IMPACT OF UNITY FM HUMAN RIGHTS ANGLE PROGRAMME ON THE CREATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AWARENESS AMONG PEOPLE OF EBONYI STATE: A STUDY OF RESIDENTS IN ABAKALIKI METROPOLIS.

1.5  Research Hypotheses

(1)     H0     Unity FM Human Rights Angle Programme does not discuss human rights issues as it affects Ebonyians.

          H1     Unity FM Human Rights Angle Programme discusses human rights issues as it affects Ebonyians.

(2)     H0     Ebonyians do not expose themselves to Unity FM Human Rights Angle Programme.

          H2     Ebonyians expose themselves to Unity FM Human Rights Angle Programme.

(3)     H0     The packaging and transmission of Human Rights Angle Programme do not align with the political and social-cultural realities of Ebonyians.

          H3     The packaging and transmission of Human Rights Angle Programme align with the political and social-cultural realities of Ebonyians.

(4)     H0     Unity FM Human Rights Angle Programme does not impact on the attitude of Ebonyians.

          H4     Unity FM Human Rights Angle Programme impacts on the attitude of Ebonyians.

(5)     H0     Unity FM Human Rights Angle Programme does not create awareness on human rights issues in Ebonyi State.

          H5     Unity FM Human Rights Angle Programme creates awareness on human rights issues in Ebonyi State

1.6  Assumptions

According to Nwodu (2006:218) “… Given that every research effort is stimulated by the existence of a given or combination of problems, it becomes imperative that researchers should make assumptions which help to authenticate the existence of knowledge gap”.

Therefore, in the course of this study, the following assumptions are made:

  1. Residents of Abakaliki metropolis have access to radio.
  2. Residents of Abakaliki metropolis are exposed to radio programmes including Human Rights Angle of Unity FM.
  3. Unity FM Human Rights Angle Programme, creates human rights awareness among people of Ebonyi State.
  4. The impact of Unity FM Human Rights Angle Programme on the people of Ebonyi State is positive and overwhelming.

1.7  Theoritical Framework

Since scientific research is cumulative, this study shall borrow from existing knowledge by exploring the AGENDA SETTING THEORY OF THE MEDIA in view of its obvious relevance or relationship with the topic of this study.

Agenda setting theory is a functional theory of the media which simply agrees that the media set agenda for public debate. Nwodu (2007:44) emphasizes thus “Agenda setting is one of the theories that emerged as a result of the empirical probe of mass media effects. It is concerned with mass media portrayal of issues and images in relation to what members of the public consider as topical or salient issues”.

Uwakwe et al (2003:243) also gives a clearer picture of what agenda setting theory of the media is, “scholars agree that the audience will attach importance to issue in the domain of public discussion because the mass media have effectively brought them to public focus. This ability of the mass media to establish salient issues or images in the mind of the public forms the basis for the agenda setting theory”.

To Wimmer and Dominick (1987:385), cited in Nwodu (2006:120), the agenda setting theory of the media examines “the relationship between media priorities and audience priorities in the relative importance of news space”.

In painting a vivid picture of what the agenda setting theory of the media is, renowned communication scholar Larson cited in Nwodu (2006:120-121), notes: “The public agenda – or what kinds of things people discuss, think and worry about (and sometimes ultimately press for legislation about), is powerfully shaped and directed by what the news media chose to publicize”.

Lang and Lang (1959) cited in Nwodu (2007:44), submits that “the mass media force attention to certain issues. They build up public images of political figures”. White (1973:243) cited in Nwodu (2007:44) notes that the media “determines what people will talk and think about”.

According to Cohen (1963:13) in Wogu (2008:143), “The press is significantly more than a purveyor of information and opinion. It may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about”.

The agenda setting power of the media was first discovered by Lippman in 1929 when he noted that the media shaped or put “pictures in our head”. The views of Lippman were later collaborated by the research conducted by Maxwell E. McCombs and Donald Shaw. McCombs and Shaw (1972:176) notes thus “In choosing and displaying news, editors, newsroom staff and broadcasters play an important part in shaping political reality. Readers learn not only about a given issue, but also how much importance to attach to that issue… The media may set the ‘agenda’ of the campaign”.

Wogu (2008:142) summarized the agenda setting theory of the media in clear terms when he notes that

The people have also known that much of the issues considered important in society and in fact discussed are parts of items earlier projected by the mass media. It is therefore believed that people consider as important those things reported in the media, and that major issues discussed in society are introduced by the media. This is the idea behind agenda setting theory of mass communication.

PROJECT TOPIC- IMPACT OF UNITY FM HUMAN RIGHTS ANGLE PROGRAMME ON THE CREATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AWARENESS AMONG PEOPLE OF EBONYI STATE: A STUDY OF RESIDENTS IN ABAKALIKI METROPOLIS.

1.8  Definition of Terms

(a)    conceptual definitions

(1)     HUMAN RIGHTS: One of the basic rights that everyone has to be treated fairly and not in a cruel way, especially by their government.

(2)     AWARENESS: Knowing something; knowing that something exists and is important, being interested in something.

(3)     PROGRAMMING: The planning of which television or radio programmes to broadcast.

(4)     TRANSMITTING: To send an electronic signal, radio or television broadcast, etc.

(5)     IMPACT: The powerful effect that something has on somebody or something.

(6)     TARGET AUDIENCE: An object, a person or a place that people aim at when attacking.

(7)     SPONTANEOUSLY: Often doing things without planning to, because you suddenly want to do them.

(8)     SIMULTANEOUS: Happening or done at the same time as something else.

(b)    operational definitions

(1)    HUMAN RIGHTS: Freedom which individuals are entitled to as guaranteed by law.

(2)     AWARENESS: Making somebody know that something exists.

(3)     PROGRAMMING: The total package of the media message for the audience.

(4)     TRANSMITTING: Relaying media message.

(5)     IMPACT: Effect of a media message on its target audience.

(6)     TARGET AUDIENCE: The people who the programme is meant for.

(7)     SPONTANEOUSLY: Doing something naturally, perhaps out of excitement, without being forced to do it.

(8)     SIMULTANEOUS: Getting the media message to the target audience irrespective of geographical location at the same time.

1.9  Limitations of the Study

In the course of conducting this research, the researcher encountered some limitations which were beyond his control. Prominent among them was the lack of adequate and sufficient literatures and books related to the topic of this research. Difficulties in eliciting vital information from the respondents during the interview session were also a limitation. Insufficient time and lack of finance considering the current global economic meltdown was also a limitation as it prevented the researcher from extending the research to other towns and villages of Ebonyi State.

PROJECT TOPIC- IMPACT OF UNITY FM HUMAN RIGHTS ANGLE PROGRAMME ON THE CREATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AWARENESS AMONG PEOPLE OF EBONYI STATE: A STUDY OF RESIDENTS IN ABAKALIKI METROPOLIS.

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