The Role Of Mass Media In Curbing The Spread Of Corona Virus Pandemic In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

The Role Of Mass Media In Curbing The Spread Of Corona Virus Pandemic In Nigeria


Abstract


This study was carried out to examine the role of mass media in curbing the spread of corona virus pandemic in Nigeria using Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Port Harcourt as a study area. To achieve this objective, three research questions and three research hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The data was collected from primary sources. The primary data were collected with the help of a well-structured questionnaire of two sections administered to the staff of Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Port Harcourt. The collected data were analyzed with tables and simple percentages to analyze the research questions. The study revealed that Covid-19 information is been shared on social media; the extent information on covid-19 shared on social media platforms is line with that of WHO is high and the extent Covid-19 information shared on social media platforms is been managed. The study concluded with some recommendations that the management of the company must ensure that all units and departments support the strategy and should involve the staff members at both formulation and implementation phases.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background Of The Study

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has created a global health crisis that has had a deep impact on the way we perceive our world and our everyday lives. Not only the rate of contagion and patterns of transmission threatens our sense of agency, but the safety measures put in place to contain the spread of the virus also require mass distancing by refraining from doing what is inherently human, which is to find solace in the company of others. Within this context of physical threat, mass and physical distancing, as well as public alarm, what has been (and can be) the role of the different mass media channels in our lives on individual, mass and societal levels?

Mass media have long been recognized as powerful forces shaping how we experience the world and ourselves. This recognition is accompanied by a growing volume of research, that closely follows the footsteps of technological transformations (e.g. radio, movies, television, the internet, mobiles) and the zeitgeist (e.g. cold war, 9/11, climate change) in an attempt to map mass media major impacts on how we perceive ourselves, both as individuals and citizens. The sensitization and awareness campaign were to sensitize the populace on the cause of COVID-19, its symptoms, consequences and prevention methods. The media particularly mass media, radio and television is used as a veritable instrument for creating the needed awareness and COVID-19 health education. Although some scholars argued that the use of mass media is exclusively reserved for the educated. Government of Nigeria adopted media institutions with other traditional means of mass mobilization to create proper awareness of COVID-19 among rural communities. These institutions particularly the television and radio station adopted native vernacular or language as their means of communication


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Are media (broadcast and digital) still able to convey a sense of unity reaching large audiences, or are messages lost in the noisy crowd of mass self-communication? Do mass media provide solace or grounds for misinformation, (de)humanization, and discrimination? Can we harness the flexibility and ubiquity of media technologies to increase the public’s adherence to the safety measures suggested by global health organizations to combat the spread of COVID-19? How can different media industries and channels for mass communication promote adaptive responses to foster positive health attitudes and adherence to preventive measures? How media impact the dynamics in the private domain (e.g. strengthen family bonds versus domestic conflict and violence)?


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The objectives of the study are;

  1. To ascertain the role mass media play in curbing the spread of coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.
  2. To ascertain if the media campaign created a reasonable level of mass media awareness of COVID-19 epidemic, causes, effects and prevention in Nigeria.
  3. To ascertain the relationship between mass media and COVID19 sensitizing awareness.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions were stated to guide this study:

  1. Is there any role mass media play in curbing the spread of coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria?
  2. Does media campaign created a reasonable level of mass media awareness of COVID-19 epidemic, causes, effects and prevention in Nigeria?
  3. Is there any relationship between mass media and COVID19 sensitizing awareness?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following have been put forward for testing

  1. H0: There is no role mass media play in curbing the spread of coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.
    H1: There is role mass media play in curbing the spread of coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.
  2. H0: There is no relationship between mass media and COVID19 sensitizing awareness.
    H1: There is relationship between mass media and COVID19 sensitizing awareness.

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study will be of utmost importance to investors, government and the researchers because it will provide policy recommendations to the various Nigeria stakeholders taking adequate measures in the broadcasting industry for rapid capacity investment. The changing character of the broadcasting industry especially, the television station reforms including the licensing of online radio and television stations has affected the industry in recent times and will push studies on the perception of mass media as tools for sensitizing rural dwellers about infectious epidemic to new evidence(s). It will contribute to existing literature on the subject matter.

This study will be of benefit to;

The Academia:

Members of the academia will find the study relevant as it will also form basis for further research and a reference tool for academic works.

Government:

This study will reveal to the government happenings in the broadcasting industry. Formulation and implementation of policies based on this findings would ensure development in the industry.


1.7 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of the study covers the role of mass media in curbing the spread of coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

a) Availability of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.


1.8 Definition of Terms

Epidemic:

A widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time.

Disease:

A disorder of structure or function in a human, animal or plant especially one that produces specific symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.

Infectious:

(of a disease or disease-causing organism) liable to be transmitted to people, organisms, etc. through the environment.

Mass Media:

Refers to a diverse array of mass technologies that reach a large audience via mass communication.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Introduction

This chapter presents the summary, conclusion recommendations for further studies.


5.2 Summary of the Findings

This study was carried out to examine the role of mass media in curbing the spread of corona virus pandemic in Nigeria using Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Port Harcourt as a study area. To achieve this objective, three research questions and three research hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. A structured questionnaire was used as the major instruments to obtained data from 40 staff and management of Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Port Harcourt. Out of this number, 40(100%) copies of questionnaire were appropriately completed and returned to the researcher for data analysis.

The data collected from the respondents were analyzed using simple percentage and tables to analyze the research questions while Chi-square (X2) statistical tool were used to test the hypotheses. The findings revealed that;

  1. There is role mass media play in curbing the spread of coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.
  2. There is a relationship between mass media and COVID19 sensitizing awareness.

5.3 Conclusion

Based on the findings of this study and subsequent recommendations, it is concluded that mass media is one of the fastest means of communicating idea and information in various forms be it visual (video and pictures), audio and in letter forms. It enables information traverse length and breadth of the world. It keeps people abreast with the happenings around the entire global community. However, the lack of control measures to regulate the innumerable online information for public consumption from the mass media outlets paved way for bringing authentic and deceptive messages alike to the vast audience. This could have the potency of throwing members of the public into the dilemma of lack of capacity to distinguish between the genuineness and inaccuracy of information published before taking it seriously. Following this fact, the mass media has contributed immensely to the creation and spread of information on the current global pandemic of COVID-19 ravaging the world in 2020. In a more discrete term, mass media has played both positive and negative roles in propagating the news about the coronavirus disease, hence, the labelling of mass media as “infodemic”. Several mass media companies used their platforms including, Facebook, WhatsApp, google, Instagram, twitter and others to contribute the information spread about COVID-19 and the attendant consequences of same. Though some people benefit from the information received through mass media, many others have been dangerously affected, some are thrown to the dangers of death given the consumption and utilization of information garnered for staying safe from the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic. Fake information also puts people in state of ignorance as they would be made to hold false information as if they were right, while the issue at hand degenerates.


5.4 Recommendations

  1. Avenues for scrutinizing and vetting all mass media posts and publications be created. This will ensure that the “right type of medicine is applied” making the consumers of online information to trust the authenticity of every piece accessed therefrom. The possibility of this is achievable by holding every media outlet accountable for every misleading piece of information originating from it. This will in turn build a robust confidence on the media outlets and over all peoples’ wellbeing globally.
  2. The management of the company must ensure that all units and departments support the strategy and should involve the staff members at both formulation and implementation phases.
  3. Companies should like NTA expand their mass media usage to include blogs as these can be used as an avenue to educate their clients better since mass media platforms like Facebook tend to be geared towards shorter messages and as such may fall short where greater content is necessary.

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