Roles Of NTA In Campaign Against Corona Virus In Rural Areas
NTA is an invaluable means of disseminating information to the citizenry; hence it is a powerful tool of propaganda. In lieu of the Nigerian situation, it acts as a two-edged sword as it allows citizens to be privy to information without impediments. However, this same tool has been used to misinform the populace and to circulate unverifiable and deceptive messages to citizens. As regards this, the basic question becomes: what are the advantages and disadvantages of the roles of NTA in informing the general public in rural areas about pandemics such as Covid19?
Considering that NTA is the major mainstream forum used by the populace outside the World Health Organizations (WHO), Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and State institutions, the most pervasive messages from have been selected for analysis. The paper therefore interrogates the roles which NTA play in either curtailing or aiding the spread of the news on the pandemic across the country especially in rural areas. The research concludes that the significance of NTA cannot be overemphasized with recourse to information dissemination. It also purports that these platforms have been abused as people hide under its anonymity to spread fake messages and instigate panic amongst members of the general public.
Table of Content
- 1.1 Background of study
- 1.2 Statement of the Problem
- 1.3 Research Questions
- 1.4 Objective of the Study
- 1.5 Significance of the Study
- 1.6 Limitations of the Study
- 1.8 De-Limitations of the Study
- 1.9 Definition of terms
- 1.10 Organization of the Study
Review of Related Literature
- 2.1 Conceptual Review
- 2.2 Theoretical Review
- 2.3 Empirical Review
- 3.1 Research Design
- 3.2 Sources of Data
- 3.3 Population and Sampling
- 3.4 Data Collection Tools and Technique
- 3.5 Data Collection Process
- 3.6 Data Processing and Analysis
- 3.7 Reliability of the Study
- 3.8 Validity of the Study
- 3.9 Ethical consideration
Data Analysis and Result Presentation
Summary and Conclusion
- 5.1 Summary
- 5.2 Conclusion
- 5.3 Recommendation
- 5.4 Suggestions for Further Studies
1.1 Background of Study
Over the years, NTA has become an active technological tool in Nigeria; as well as a news and communication channel for the citizenry of Nigeria. Access to mobile telephony especially among the technologically savvy youths has made dissemination of information easy with a snap of the finger. In recent times, as the pandemic encroaches on and emasculates world activities, mass media platforms have been utilized as an information outlet to citizens. Its significance has gained more recognition owing especially to the fact that the government implemented a lockdown policy to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Thus, it has become an active tool for engagement and communication for the dissemination of plausible information as well as incredulous (mis)information.
There is a growing body of literature on traditional media. A critical analysis shows change and continuity in communication and information technology. Let’s examine below some of the issues. traditional media such as NTA in these recent times of improved ICT is an offshoot of the Internet and according to DiMaggio et al. (2001, p. 307), the Internet refers to the electronic network or networks that link(s) people and information through computers and other digital devices; thereby allowing for person-to-person communication and information retrieval. Traditional media is a major tool that emerged for the purpose of information dissemination; thus, the media acts as an information hegemon in terms of determining what information is made available to people as well as the impression people have on issues (Savrum & Leon, 2015). Largely, NTA which is now on the internet which allows people even in the rural communities can access without necessarily having television sets and allow for mass interaction, conversation and sharing among members who access their platform online. (Murphy, 2013, p. 3). These diverse media outlets played an important role in facilitating uprisings such as the Arab spring (AlSayyad & Guvenc, 2015, p. 2025). Its power lies in live upload of the news of events as it unfolds without necessarily waiting for a news program. The livestreaming of events is capable of mobilizing a huge population of citizenry for positive or negative end. More so, it has played an important role in crippling dictatorial regimes. As the importance of NTA is not lost on the general public for information engagement, its relevance in Nigeria especially during this emergency period is neither lost on any keen viewer. Consequently, its campaign role is highlighted in this study.
The Coronavirus (Covid-19) is an infectious disease causes respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe respiratory difficulties. It originated from the Hunan seafood market at Wuhan, China where live bats, snakes, raccoon dogs, wild animals among others were sold in December 2019 (Shereen et al., 2020, pp. 91–98) and was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March 2020 (WHO, 2020). Since its identification, the virus is said to have accounted for about 512,311 deaths globally out of a swooping statistic of 10,514,028 positive cases which sadly increases exponentially daily (WHO, 2020). The first victim of the virus in Nigeria was an Italian man who arrived in the country on the 25 February 2020. He was admitted to an Isolation Centre in Yaba Lagos after showing symptoms of the virus (NCDC 2020). Subsequently, the cases increased and, as at the time of this paper, almost 28,711 positive cases and 11,665 recuperated persons have been identified (NCDC, 2020).
Noticeably, Nigeria is joined the rest of the world in trying to curb the rapid spread of Covid-19 through lockdown of the major epicenters of Lagos, Ogun, and Abuja: commercial and administrative hubs of the country; where there have been spike of coronavirus cases. Some state governors have also taken proactive actions by closing their “borders” in a bid to curtail the spread of the virus. Other measures include prohibition of mass gathering of people at churches, sports arenas and burials while schools were closed nationwide. The achievement of these feats can be attributed not just to proper healthcare facilities but also to the impacts of media including NTA in the country. Its platforms of news dissemination aside television broadcast: have become varying means of communication and engagement by not just the government but by the general populace. Contrarily, NTA is also utilized as a means of repelling propaganda in disclosing news and information, which at most are based on assumptions and speculations. On this note, this paper intends to interrogate the use of NTA as a tool for the campaign against covid-19.
During COVID-19 outbreak, many individuals, organizations and government agencies are posting their views regarding the Corona Virus (Pokharel, 2020). People are using different mass media platform for different reasons in the COVID-19 pandemic which creates the different implications in society concerning to health and overall crisis management in the society. This research explores the role of NTA in the campaign against the virus ; whether NTA has been helpful or harmful during this critical time.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The world has leaped forward in terms of using accurate dissemination for information flow and NTA is a very popular means in every way of life in Nigeria. It is not a hidden fact that in Nigeria, NTA was used massively during two historically challenging times like the Ebola of 2014 and the Lassa fever of 2017.
News creation and consumption have come in different ways since the advent of internet with speculations and fake news confusing the populace. The widespread of the COVID-19 resulted in a tsunami of such speculations (Mourad et.al, 2020).
The need for the study arises as concerned authorities like WHO, government offices, doctors, health professionals, the general public, learners, students, and academicians are using traditional media oulets during the COVID-19 pandemic for multiple reasons. People in NTA are doing many things concerned with the COVID-19 pandemic; people are expressing their opinions and sentiments on the internet that mostly nnot accurate; people are participating in a virtual debate that might have both positive and negative implications in the society especially for the management of the crisis, hence the need for peoper news channels to put the information straight.
Bastani &Bahrami (2020) found in the web-2 era, much of this misinformation is disseminated via internet where information could spread easily. An amount of potentially dangerous misinformation has been generated about the COVID-19 pandemic; which has been communicated via social networks. This misinformation comprises of different aspects of the epidemic, which is capable of threatening public safety, which further worsens the situation. This false and misleading news about COVID-19 is transferred faster than the virus, and it seems that people are fighting with two aspects of crisis e.g. virus and the associated misinformation with it simultaneously. The use of traditional media such as NTA in risk communication about the global H1N1 flu epidemics showed that for the dissemination of risk messages and public participation of risk communication and management process different institutions and cultures can make use of traditional media even more essential (Ding & Zhang, 2010). Above mentioned studies have contradictory findings. Bastani & Bahrami(2020) argue as traditional media such as NTA has been a major source of information which has put public health at safety; however, Ding & Zhang (2010) argue as traditional media such as NTA can do more in the dissemination of information in order to minimize risk and management of crisis at the time of the pandemic.
1.3 Research Questions
- What role NTA are playing in raising awareness about the COVID-19 pandemic in society?
- What are the roles and contributions of NTA in the war against Covid 19?
1.4 Objective of the Study
- To explore the roles of NTA in raising awareness in COVID-19 in society.
- To assess the roles and contributions of NTA in the war against COVID-19?
1.5 Significance of the Study
This research looked at the role of NTA in society during the pandemic. It explores the both positive and negative implications of NTA.
It will thus make us aware of the rational utilization of traditional media. This study supplies abundant information on the role of NTA in raising awareness and achieving collective action. This study will be helpful in formulating plans and policies on NTA regarding their use for the associated risk management.
This might be an important contribution to understand the role and influence of NTA in the lives of people and society. This study provides abundant information on the ways NTA can be used to cope with the pandemic situation. This study might be one of the contributions for the productions of knowledge regarding this particular predicament of COVID-19 which might be helpful in further researches and studies.
1.6 Limitations of the Study
This study is apprehensible only to those people who are patronize NTA and data are collected only from the NTA viewers. COVID-19 pandemic is still prevalent in the world including Nigeria at the time of writing this thesis. This research is based on respondent’s experiences and opinions with NTA during COVID- 19 till the time study was conducted.
1.8 De-Limitations of the Study
I reviewed limited theoretical, methodological, and empirical literature. I employed only interviews, observation, sample survey and case study methods to get the primary information from the field.
The fieldwork for the research was conducted within a short period of time; one- month fieldwork was carried out which might not be adequate time for the analysis of the role of mass media at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The study is conducted among a sample of 40 mass media users which may not be representative to explore the entire issues of research. I concentrated my study only among people aged from 16 -60. The experience and opinion of respondents may vary regarding the age of respondents therefore, the study may not be generalized for a bigger picture. Similarly, this study was carried out with the residents of Ikono LGA of Akwa Ibom state. I do not claim that this study might the representative of all people living across the country.
1.9 Definition of Terms
COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. ‘CO’ stands for corona, ‘VI’ for virus, and ‘D’ for disease
Facts provided or learned about something or someone
The process of dealing with or controlling things or people
A disease prevalent over a whole country or the world
1.10 Organization of the Study
This study is divided into five chapters.
- Chapter one is introduction which consists of the background to the study, statement of problem, research questions, research hypotheses, objectives of the study, the significance of the study, the scope and limitations of the study and finally the organization of the study.
- Chapter two deals with the literature review which consists of the conceptual literature, theoretical literature, empirical literature, theoretical framework.
- Chapter three gives the research methodology including research design, population of study, sample size, sampling technique, method of data collection, instrument of data analysis, method of data analysis, validity/reliability of instrument.
- Chapter four is presentation and analysis of data, discussion of findings.
- Chapter five gives the summary, conclusion and recommendations.
Summary and Conclusion
Chapter one explored the research gap through reviewing of the pertinent literatures concern with pandemic, NTA and its role. This section also included the both rational and limitation of study that make this study more rigorous and authentic. The research objective of the study is
-To explore the role of NTA in raising awareness about COVID-19 and roles and contributions of NTA in social collectiveness to overcome the resultant crisis.
In second chapter, I have reviewed literatures regarding pandemic and NTA their roles and relationship. I reviewed literature regarding the role of NTA during Zika, Ebola, and H1N1 with special focus on COVID-19. I also revised roles of NTA during difficult situation in the society. I reviewed government policies regarding NTA and infectious disease and pandemic. In the last section of this chapter I provided the conceptual framework of my research.
Chapter three discusses on research methods applied for attaining the objectives of the study. This research is basically explorative research design and uses descriptive research design partly. It incorporates the study tools and technique of interview, observation and case studies.
I had chosen 40 NTA users applying purposive sampling. This study explains the lived experiences of rural residents of Ikono LGA are collected from both primary and secondary sources. Most of the data are qualitative while some data are quantitative in nature. Both qualitative and quantitative data are manually analysed. Qualitative data are analysed and interpreted identifying main words, phrases, narratives and sentence while quantitative data are analysed and interpreted through tables, percentage and comparison. The logic of reasoning is inductive method i.e. the results from empirical data are linked to theories.
In chapter four, I have discussed about the study area; its geographical area and socio- economic features. This chapter also provides the information on distribution of studied population in terms of their gender, age, marital status, educational qualifications and occupations.
Chapter five addresses the general understanding regarding the nature of using NTA platform with focus on the role of NTA in raising awareness about COVID-19 pandemic in the society.
The increased time consumption and the active engagement and involvement of people in the NTA after the advent of COVID-19 pandemic showed that people used NTA platform to get the useful information about the COVID-19 pandemic.
The study showed that people are getting more information from other NTA platforms rather than television because of easy accessibility, less expensive, quick circulation of messages, bi-directional communication between source of information and consumer and multiple way of getting information i.e. audio, video, text, picture etc.
The information disseminated by NTA are about statistics of disease, safety protocols, precautionary and preventive measures, diagnosis, treatment, effect, signs and symptoms, consequences, dietary recommendations, vaccine, and medicines. It also disseminated the information regarding government and non-state agency’s policies, regulations, guidelines as well global and local scenario of the pandemic. People get this information in NTA in texts, audios, videos, pictures, live chat and live streaming. recommendation, treatment, signs, symptoms and consequences.
Chapter five address the contributions of NTA in social collectiveness among people during COVID-19 pandemic.
Raising awareness about the disease among mass citizens from the early phase of the pandemic is the major step to minimize the possible risk. Spreading of timely and correct information regarding the disease minimize future damage and save the lives of people. NTA platform plays a significant role to raise awareness about the pandemic in society via disseminating the information. NTA plays important role in pandemic preparedness, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease.
NTA also helps in breaking the chain of infection and rehabilitation of the victims. NTA play a vital role in the reinforcement of the related messages among people via repetitive messages in different forms i.e. texts, audios, videos, and pictures from different sources and programs. NTA facilitates the active participation of public in communicating the risk messages in the society which is helpful in raising awareness among mass people.
It supports the effort made by state and non-state agencies to minimize the risks. It also makes the communication of vital information more effective and convincing among people. NTA disseminates both information and misinformation regarding Covid-19. The correct information helps to save the lives of people. Active initiation and participation of government and concerned authorities in timely and correct information through NTA platforms can help in combating the misinformation. Clear scrutiny, evaluation, and monitoring process of NTA platform and collaboration of government and concerned authorities with NTA platform are beneficial to combat misinformation.
In NTA platforms, people are not only passive consumers of information. They are active advocates and producers of information. In a democratic society, we live in today where the freedom of expression is ensured NTA platforms are the way many people prefer getting their information.
Hence, government and stakeholders should include NTA as a significant aspect of their strategies for the dissemination of vital information in the management of the pandemic. In the hard-hit time of pandemic of modern days; NTA is not only beneficial in disseminating health-related information, but also creates the forum for dialogue and discussion among stakeholders and the public though carefully crafted programs. The government can communicate people about their plans, policies, strategies, predictions, speculations, suggestions, guidelines, and future consequences of the pandemic through NTA.
Citizens can take participation in raising awareness among people by disseminating the correct and vital information. It enhances and fosters the efforts made my government and concerned authorities to minimize the risk.
Health professionals can share their knowledge and expertise via NTA to clear the doubts of people and disseminate authentic information. This is helpful for the government and concerned entities to react and respond to crises differently and take the right course of action to solve the embedded problems.
Government and concerned entities can practice telemedicine and telehealth through NTA platform which reduces the load of patients in hospitals and reduces the chances of transmission of the disease. Practicing telemedicine through NTA reduces the financial burden of citizens.
5.4 Suggestions for Further Studies
- Effect of mass media on covid-19 dissemination
- Awareness of citizens on right in formation channel
- Role of government in regulating social media for proper information dissemination
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