Mass Media And Rural Development In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

Mass Media And Rural Development In Nigeria


This research is all about Mass Media and Rural development in Nigerian. And the purpose of writing this topic is to narrates the power of the mass media towards the rural dwellers in terms of development. Mass media is very importance because of its roles to the society which involves education, entertainment, surveillance etc. for instance if there is a cooperative relationship excreting among the two “Media and Rural dwellers” it is core that it will bring enough development to the whole rural dwellers in Nigeria, because through the interaction between the two on media, even if there is anything government want to offer those rural dwellers, they will through media receive the information. This research comprises five chapters, chapter one the background of the study, chapter two literature review, what there were some many authors supported the topic, including Onuora (1985) and others. Chapter three is research methodology, in this chapter comprises every thing concerning however research is being organized especially the calculation on how to determine the sample size of the study etc. Chapter four is data presentation, chapter five is now the summary conclusion following by questionnaire, reference and bibliography.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of Study

Mass Media involves the use of different medium to transmit or disseminate information to the heterogeneous, audience, and these include the using of radio, television, newspaper, magazine etc to transmit message

Communication has been easier through the help of these media, without these media, message would have been on one sided. New communication technologies have interestingly radically improved the mode of message transmission, they are also attempting to re-defence the concept of Mass Communication Bittner (1989: 262) says New technology is changing the way receive and consume Mass communication is changing to encompass more specialized media.

The various Mass Media of communication are fast becoming the major instrument for promoting development,. The impact of the media has been extended by a vast expansion of audiences which has taken place over the last quarter century aided by the “Transistor Revolution”, radio has become the world’s document Mass Media reading even the rural masses in the third world.

The rural dwellers are those people who lives in undeveloped area. Some of the dominant development problems in these rural people in particular includes: inadequate level of modern Mass Media facilities, lack of government support to provide finance for the various development programmes, High level of deterrent by the rural masses, high level of literary among the rural masses, high level of birth rate among the rural masses (population) etc.

Though the government are doing every thing within their power to solve these problems in order to foster communities and other rural masses with the proper use of the Mass Media.

Mass Media are important for the development of families, communities, villages etc. The media can change peoples altitude and educate people on new knowledge and behaviour.

(Gerbner, 1980) these feature can be used to support development programme. Yet for every person affected by a consciously planned developmental application of media, these are probably thousands influenced by message designed to inform, educate, entertain or to sell.

The best quoted case is “Nsukka Deje nu” which usually done on “radio Nigeria” and even print material “Satellite News paper” to educate and mobilize over two thousand villagers in Nsukka Local Governmnet Area.

A related concept is “development journalism” which has been involving for some years now. primary among mass media are used to inform, educate and entertain people both for and near.

As the president (Good Luck Jonathan) said “I will not let you down, he tells Nigerians” reported by Okey Ndiribe of vanguard Newspaper on Tuesday May 31, 2011 the Nigeria including the rural people, is not left behind, the development of the rural people is now full assured to us by our president.

1.2 Statement of Research Problem

In this global age, Mass Media has been regarded as a valuable tool for economic, social and political development in the rural areas. Every community needs the full support of Government on rural development in order to be full civilized, even for them to know the basic needs and situation of the state economy, because of these reasons, it is imperative now for the Mass Media to be used as the only ways by which people will be nurtured on the new developments.

Therefore, for the research, the problem at hand is to find out how the Mass Media has to do with rural development in Nigeria’s? how Mass Media has changed the attitude and behaviour of the rural dwellers who has been exposed to the Mass Media? This project will also look at other variables among the people of Nsukka Local Government of Enugu State.

1.3 The Objective of the Study

It is acknowledged that adequate information dissemination is the basis of an informed and rational citizen. The objective of this study includes:

  1. To find out how Mass Media could help in improving the lives of the rural dwellers by influencing their attitude, opinions, ideas, conditions etc.
  2. This research will also study how rural dwellers receive and utilize information available to them;
  3. Finally, this project is aimed at finding solutions or recommendations towards the development of the rural area of Nsukka local Government.

1.4 Significance of Study

The significant of the study has in the fact that it would show how the Mass Media has being performing a vital role in disseminating information to the heterogeneous audiences.

In the absence of Mass Media, the rural dwellers would have been undeveloped, No one among them would have perceived the news of the day, through the means of Mass Media especially the broadcasting media radio and television, people in the rural area have now been enjoying the free news giving to them by the news broadcasters precisely.

Through Mass Media the information dissemination is made possible and even not only that, the new technologies has increased the speed rate of disseminating information to the people in rural places.

1.5 Research Question

As it has been pointed out some where, these questions of development usually involved issues, policies activities and budget that can only be acceptable or successful through effective government programmes and effective use of Mass Media as fourth estate of the realm, unfortunately, these forgeries are done in a discriminating manner by our government by concentrating in the development of the urban centers, while neglecting the rural ones. Consequently, this has lead to unnecessary friction between the government, Mass Media, and their rural dwellers. These couldn’t have risen if the people were properly informed and persuaded through effective, organized and sustainable of government programmes.

This study will specifically address on the following questions:

  1. Do the people of Nsukka Local Government have positive or negative attitude towards Mass Media?
  2. What medium do they choose for effective communication?
  3. Does Mass Media have any influence on rural development?

1.6 Research Hypothesis

To effectively carry out the research, the following hypotheses were formulated:

  1. Hi: Mass Media helps in the development of the rural areas.
    Ho: Mass Media does not help in the development of rural areas.
  2. H2: Mass Media have influences in the development of rural areas.
    Ho: Mass Media does not have influence in the development of the rural areas
  3. H3: Mass Media is a catalyst in the development of the rural areas.
    Ho: Mass Media is not a catalysts in the development of the rural areas.

1.7 Definition of Terms

  1. Mass
  2. Media
  3. Rural
  4. Development

Conceptual Definition

i. Mass:

This means a large number of people or things grouped together.

ii. Media:

This means the main ways that large numbers of people receive information and entertainment, that is television, ratio, and the newspaper.

iii. Rural:

Connected with or like the country side rural areas/communities, a rural economy/society, rural America, rural way of life, compare to urban.

iv. Development:

The gradual growth of something so that it becomes more advanced, stonger etc.

Operational Definition

i. Mass:

This is a group of peoples that lives in heterogeneous ways. They receive the media messages from difference dismission.

ii. Media:

This is a process in which messages are being disseminated to the heterogeneous audiences, this involves television, radio, newspaper, bill board etc.

iii. Rural:

Mass Media plays a vital roles in the dissemination of messages to the people living in the rural areas.

iv. Development:

The act of making use of Mass Media by the rural dwellers has improved the standard of people in the rural, mean while by educating, entertaining, informing them on the happening in the country.

1.8 Assumption

  1. Mass Media play a vital role on rural development
  2. The importance of Mass Media in rural development
  3. Citizens look up to Mass Media for the rural development.

1.9 Theoretical Frame Work

Social responsibility theory by Siebert Paterson and Schraum to the social responsibility theorist, freedom carries concomitant obligations, and the press which enjoys a privileged position under our government is obliged to be responsible to society for carrying out certain essential function of Mass Communication in contemporary society.

Normative theory by Dennis McQuails (1994) explain how ideal media ought to operate within a specific system of social values.

According to Nnanyelugo Okoro and Ben Agbo (2003) the social responsibility theory owes its growth to the realization that the much-trumpeted free press did not exist anywhere. Concerned with the definition of appropriate place of the media in society, a commission on the freedom of the press was set in 1947.

Social responsibility theory by Sicbert Paterson and Schram stated that social responsibility freedom carries concomitant obligations, and the press which enjoys a privilege position under our government is obliged to be responsible to society for carrying out certain essential functions of Mass communication in contemporary society.

However, Mass Communication has four traditional cardinal functions to the society such as, information Education, Entertaining and Persuasion so, this four points are the primary functions of mass communication.

1.10 Scope Of Study

Scope of study means the area of study. A list of towns that made up the Nsukka Local Government was collected from the Local Government Head Quarters.

Ten towns were selected namely

  1. Nsukka (Head Quarter)
  2. Ede Oballa
  3. Opi
  4. Ihealumona
  5. Ero Ulo
  6. Obukpa
  7. Lejja
  8. Okpuje
  9. Edem
  10. Obimo

This study was limited due to financial and time constraints and also the dissemination of statistical data made it possible for the research to go beyond this level.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Summary

This study revisited the impact of mass media on rural development. This research direction was borne out of the fact that despite how useful mass media are and continue to be in rural development, someforms of resistance to the messages do occur, often without the knowledge of message disseminators. The question is therefore: Why do rural dwellers resist some messages and what kinds of messages are resisted?

Respondents generally accept that radio, television and newspapers are their sources of information with radio being the most acceptable. Based on available media channels in the State, the Federal Government–owned stations (Radio Nigeria and NTA) are preferred for information on rural development issues. This study has attributed this to the wide reach of the stations, clarity of their broadcasts and perhaps their culture-sensitive programming patterns. A clear preference for mass media is made by respondents for the provision of their information needs. This must be based on their wide, simultaneous reach but does not mean that traditional forms of communication do not matter. In fact, they rate very highly among respondents and should therefore count in any rural development communication plan.

This study also shows that in the process of developing rural areas, some messages are resisted by the people. Respondents point particularly at health messages which are more prevalent in the study environment and require widespread lifestyle changes. These health-related messages have been affected by this resistance or hardening of positions, regarded as steeling in this study. Messages about payment of taxes and various bills count a close second on the list followed by political promises and outright government-sponsored propaganda. The initiators and developers of rural development messages ought to know this reality and make adjustments where necessary and possible to achieve their goals. It is important to know however, that bombarding the rural people with information that works against their cultural values or seeking to change the way people live, will naturally be resisted.

Concerning the best way to use mass media for rural development, a majority of the respondents chose a method in which the designing and dissemination of the development messages was done with the participation of the benefitting community. Doing so will ensure that words and images that have other meanings or represent taboos, for instance, and are not admissible in the local areas are not used. When images are involved, the things that are abhorred by the rural people are not highlighted, even if they are accepted in other cultures. These are some of the benefits of participation including the fact that the benefitting community can hear their own language and see clearly that they own the development project.

5.2 Conclusion

This study concludes that mass media are indispensable, where there is access, to rural development. Radio is particularly good for reaching a mass audience; print media re-enforce broadcasts; but interpersonal communication adds credibility by providing the opportunity for face to face discussions thereby prompting behavior change. With surveillance, correlation, entertainment, education, cultural transmission, status conferral and enforcement of norms being the functions of mass communication, it is expected that mass media would play the same role, even if it is in a different form, in rural development.

But communication can also be dysfunctional. It can produce undesired results. People can also resist communication either because they are feeling bothered or because they know that lies are involved. This leads to communication producing the opposite or undesired effect. This study highlights the fact that despite all the beautiful functions of mass media, the presentation of some information in some ways, may elicit steeling or the dysfunction of making the audience to harden themselves to the message. This often leads to their continuing in their old ways, doing nothing, or doing the opposite of what the message is promoting.

Respondents in this study say that they prefer mass media particularly radio for the purpose of receiving development–related messages. They also claim to rely on mass media for information on infrastructural development believing that mass media can cause behavior change.

Concerning issues or practices that attract the hardening of positions, health messages, taxation and payment of bills, political promises and government-sponsored propaganda are messages that have been resisted by some members of the study area. Respondents also say that the participation of rural dwellers in initiating, designing and disseminating rural messages in simple language is the best way to use mass media for rural development. The rural beneficiaries of development projects, they say, are the best people to originate information on rural development needs and not anyone else.

5.3 Recommendations

In view of the findings of this study, the following recommendations are made.

  1. Because rural development messages meet resistance in some climes, message designers have an obligation to engage in far-reaching pre-project research for the gathering of necessary baseline data on preferred message types, message tone, cultural values and taboos, as well as other sensitive local matters in the concerned communities. The data so gathered will assist in decision-making about the community’s preferences
  2. Rural forms of communication should not be neglected in the rural development process. Even though most rural dwellers prefer radio, it may be for the additional reason of prestige. They want to be modern. Despite this, a reasonable proportion of them still want traditional means of information. After all, to carry out a road project, for instance, rural dwellers do not go to announce it on radio. Therefore, message designers need to incorporate many traditional forms of communication in their multi-media rural development strategy.
  3. The choice of rural development projects should be that of the rural dweller. Development agencies and governments should no longer allocate projects to rural areas without the people saying that it is what they want.
  4. Development-message designing should involve the rural beneficiaries of development projects. The era of urban-based officials developing messages for rural areas is far gone. But because the practice still continues, it needs to stop so that rural people can take control of their affairs, develop messages that suit them in the language they want, control its dissemination and take responsibility for problems that may arise.
  5. Radio is the preferred source of rural-development-information. Its use should therefore be enhanced by improving participation, reach, message content and clarity and cultural relevance.

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