Role Of Radio In Mobilizing Electorate Towards Participating In Governorship Election
The flexibility of radio makes it a unique tool in reaching diverse audience including those in rural area on socio-economy and political matters. It is on this notion that this examines the role of radio in mobilising electorate towards participating in 2016 Ondo state Governorship election in Akure. Survey research method was adopted coupled with 200 copies of questionnaires that were printed and administered to the respondents within Akure Township in which 192 copies were returned. The data were analyzed using frequency and percentage method. The research findings showed that mass media especially radio provides avenue for the citizens to get information about political activities, it did educate and sensitize masses on various activities such as voter card registration, how to handle voter’s card, what to wear during election, how to participate in political rally and campaign, to the activities on election day, coverage of election results, coverage of post-election activities like violence and tribunal. It is therefore recommended that there should be more radio to serve different taste and language and radio should be free from few influential politicians to avoid turning the media into tools of propaganda.
1.1 Background to the Study
Media impact on political campaigns and voting has always been at the center of some of mass communication earliest research. Given that the media (television / radio) had yet to develop into a true mass medium and that the notion of limited effects held sway, the overall conclusion was that the media had little direct impact on campaigns and voting, and when or if they did, such impact was in form of reinforcement but with the fuller diffusion of television and radio and the interest generated in these medium, thinking about media and campaigns began to change. For example after the focus of televised debates on how political candidates used media for image building and “cheapening” of campaigns, it has made these personalities become more important than issues.
There is no gain saying the fact that the media helps in shaping the perception of the voters during the process of electioneering campaigns as they try to x-ray the various political actors and players. This is so because the media has the power of persuasion.
Perception is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of sensory information. In relation to the media, the implication of the above assertion means that people are often viewed with a preconceived idea. This is because; there is no man without a history. They often bring the history of anybody gunning for any electoral post to limelight and tries to shape or build the perception of the people about the candidate. The media often sets an agenda for the people. The agenda-setting hypothesis asserts that the media have an effect indirectly by choosing certain issues for emphasis, thus making those issues more salient to the audiences.
Another important development in contemporary thinking that came up about media and political campaigns was the agenda-setting. Agenda-setting was used to explain how the media can influence campaigns and voting from the audience. The media has helped to set the issue agenda that dictates the issue on which majority of the people ultimately base their voting decisions. The amount of air time devoted to campaigns coverage on media stations has demonstrated dramatic declines in the amount given to the candidates’ position. The content-free political campaigns, coupled with the increase in negative campaign commercials (advertisement) may be creating an apathetic and alienated public, rather than the involved and informed citizenry that is necessary for democracy.
However, though Americans consider or see negative campaign advertising unethical, uninformative, deceptive and lacking in credibility research indicates that negative campaigns are more memorable than positive ones and voters decision making is been influenced to a greater degree by these negative campaign rather than by positive campaign information. Though these negative campaigns might ultimately damage democracy, the voters end up declaring what they want better from their candidates. (Aigbovbiose 2007:399).
The media today have become essential to modern campaigning which has helped to reinforce the disclosure of huge campaign contributions to all political parties. The media should endeavour to make free air time available to political candidates and campaigns and also increasing the length of time the candidates have to present full, cogent explanations of their positions as these gives the audiences or voters better knowledge of their political candidates.
The pattern of audience exposure to the media gives substantial explanation to the nature of political socialization. In their study of the 1968 US presidential campaign, Chaffe, Ward and Tipmon (1970) cited in Aigbovbiose (2007:399) established that mass media use was casually related to political knowledge but less related to political activity among pre-voters.
Audience awareness of events depends on the prominence of the event coverage in the media. The media right from time immemorial has been involved in drawing the attention of voters to the possibility that a new government or party could implement fresh policies which could consequently meet every day’s needs. The media therefore is strongly an instrumental to public opinion formation and change about a political system or government.
Furthermore, the information that is disseminated helps to create awareness of various innovative programme and should be disseminated firstly not only in English language but also in language that is understandable to all the audience members. Another important use of information is that, the media should be accessible and available to the target audience. It is on this note that Ukozor (2003:49) say, “the media should be able of report news events, giving meaning to it in order that their report gets more attractive and useful to the audience” This is done by offering contextual explanations to facts and issues of the day’s news in a manner that the average news consumer will understand their implications to his/her life. The media should be able to dig out some facts that are not immediately visible which the audience did not know about.
In addition, it is the multiciplicity of linkage between the mass media, society and politics that brought about the role which the media has to play in mobilizing the audience politically. In this mobilization, they are expected (media) to be objective and propelled by public interest rather than individualized or parochial interest. The media with their spirit of resilience, have engaged themselves in politically reawakening the citizens and mobilizing them into participating in the nation’s political activities.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Nigeria as a secular country over the years has been described as a political joke as long as fairness and equity in elections are concerned. This is because, the political “industry” has lost credibility and integrity. The leaders have continued to fill the bags of the electorates with good promises that has never been realized. Political administration after different political administration has constantly continued in the mass deceit. This situation has caused a dis-interest in the minds of the electorates as lots of them believe that their votes don’t count neither is the government interested in their well-being. This dis-interest has been transferred from generation to generation as parents hand over this null belief to their kids and their kids ride with it. Is this not why some regions are apolitical when it comes to elections in this country. However, all hope is not lost. It is on this premise that we would like to examine the role of radio in mobilizing electorates towards participating in elections, and in this study, the governorship elections
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The study has the following aims as its focus:
- To determine if the radio is an effective tool for mobilizing electorates.
- To determine the limitations of the radio in mobilizing electorates.
- To ascertain the possibility of the radio in mobilizing electorates during elections.
1.4 Research Hypotheses
H0: The radio is not an effective tool for mobilizing electorates during elections.
H0: There is no significant result between the radio publicity and electorates’ participation.
H0: There is no significant relationship between the radio and election campaigns.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The study is a contribution to the numerous literature on the radio’s use in elections. It is of an academic importance to students of communication arts, as it serves as a reference point for them.
1.6 Scope / Limitation of the Study
It will be nugatory, attempting to study the whole of Nigeria as it relates to the perception of Nigerians to the radio broadcast.
1.7 Definition of Terms
Radio is the technology that uses radio waves to carry information, such as sound, by systematically modulating properties of electromagnetic energy waves transmitted through space, such as their amplitude, frequency, phase, or pulse width.
An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office.
All the people in a country or area who are entitled to vote in an election.
A political campaign is an organized effort which seeks to influence the decision making process within a specific group. In democracies, political campaigns often refer to electoral campaigns, by which representatives are chosen or referendums are decided.
1.8 Organization of the study
The study is divided into five chapters. Chapter one deals with the study’s introduction and gives a background to the study. Chapter two reviews related and relevant literature. The chapter three gives the research methodology while the chapter four gives the study’s analysis and interpretation of data. The study concludes with chapter five which deals on the summary, conclusion and recommendation.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
It is important to reiterate that the objective of this study was to examine the impact of women education on national development.
In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made.
This study has tried to examine the possibility of the radio as a tool for mobilizing the electorates to participate in the governorship elections. The study has highlighted some key functions of the radio as a veritable tool. Some findings were made which showed that the radio can be an effective tool for the mobilization of electorates during elections if properly used. However, caution must be applied so that the politicians will not hijack the platform for a political propaganda.
The radio is a veritable tool for the mobilization of electorates. Radio has a large audience and can disseminate information to a very wide distance. The radio today have become essential to modern campaigning which has helped to reinforce the disclosure of huge campaign contributions to all political parties. The radio should endeavour to make free air time available to political candidates and campaigns and also increasing the length of time the candidates have to present full, cogent explanations of their positions as these gives the audiences or voters better knowledge of their political candidates.
- The Electorates should maximize the radio as a platform of expressing their opinion concerning political issues.
- The government on its part should be fair in their expression and cease from turning the radio to a party mouthpiece.
- The radio regulatory board should put policies in place that will aid the radio stations operate maximally thereby obtaining the reason behind their establishment.
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