THE EFFECTS OF MASS COMMUNICATION IN NIGERIAN SOCIETY (A CASE STUTY OF PORT HARCOURT CITY LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA)

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ABSTRACT

The purpose of the study was to investigate the effect of mass communication and on the Nigerian Society by identifying the effects, the contribution (negative and positive) to the Nigerian Society (a case study of Port Harcourt City Local Government Area). Four (4) research questions were postulated to find answers to the problem of the study. Using a simple random sampling technique, fifty Chairman and Council Staff, one Hundred individuals were analyzed in tabular for using four point likert type rating scale. The statistical method used for analysis of data was mean score. The study was able to clear the position that media have limited or minimal effects.  Based on the findings, the following recommendations were made; more strict regulation on media, media should be used for developmental project, monetary gratification should not be the sole aim for mass communication outlet and the selection of media content should be done with great care.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

COVER PAGE ……………………………………………………………………………………….. i.

TITLE PAGE ………………………………………………………………………………………… ii.

DECLARATION PAGE ………………………………………………………………………… . iii.

APPROVAL PAGE ………………………………………………………………………………… iv.

DEDICATION …………………………………………………………………………………………v.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT ………………………………………………………………………… vi.

TABLE OF CONTENT …………………………………………………………………………… vii.

LIST OF TABLAS AND DIAGRAMS ………………………………………………………… x.

ABSTRACT …………………………………………………………………………………………….xi.

 

 

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………………1

Background of the Study ………………………………………………………………………1

Statement of the Problem ……………………………………………………………………..9

Purpose of the Study ……………………………………………………………………………10

Research Questions………………………………………………………………………………11

Significance of the Study………………………………………………………………………12

Definition of Terms………………………………………………………………………………13

 

CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE…………………………21

Concept and Nature of Mass Communication and its Theories…………….22

A Short History of Mass Communication Theory…………………………………26

  1. The Era of Mass Society………………………………………….………..28
  2. The Era of the Scientific Perspective…………………………………29
  • The Era of Limited Effect Theory………………………………………30

 

The Era of Cultural Theory – A Return to the Idea of Powerful Effects…31

  1. Symbolic Interaction…………………………………………………………32
  2. Social Construction of Reality……………………………………………..33
  • Cultivation Analysis…………………………….……………………………..34
  1. Critical Cultural Theory………………………………………………………35

The Effect Debate…………………………………………………………………………………..36

 

Summary to Related Literature………………………………………………………………40

 

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY……………………………………………………….42

Research Design……………………………………………………………………………………42

Area of the Study……………………………………………………………………………………43

Population of the Study………………………………………………………………………….43

Sample and Sampling Technique…………………………………………………………….43

Instrument for Data Collection………………………………………………………………..44

Validation of the Instrument……………………………………………………………….44

Technique for Date Analysis……………………………………………………………….45

 

 

 

CHAPTER FOUR: PRESENTATION AND ANALYSUS OF DATA………………46

Research Question 1……………………………………………………………………………46

Research Question 2……………………………………………………………………………48

Research Question 3……………………………………………………………………………50

Research Question 4…………………………………………………………………………….52

Discussion of Findings…………………………………………………………………………53

 

 

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS..56

Restatement of the Problem…………………………………………………………………57

Summary of Findings………………………………………………………………………….58

Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………………….60

Limitation of the Study………………………………………………………………………..61

Recommendations………………………………………………………………………………61

Suggestion for Further Research………………………………………………………….62

 

REFERENCE

Appendix A

Appendix B

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 

Background of the Study

 

Media have effects. People may disagree about what those effects might be but media do have effects. Advertisers would not spent billions of Naira a year to place their message in the media if they did not have effects, nor would our constitution, in the form for First Amendment, seek to protect the freedom of the media if the media did not have important consequences.

 

 

In spite of the numerous effects mass communication has been playing on the Nigerian Society, certain snags seem to influence mass communication negatively.

 

First, a good number of psychologists believe that viewing violent and immoral TV or video programs, increase interpersonal aggression and unethical demeanors especially among young people.

 

Second, exposure to mass media programs (TV or radio drama can lead to acculturation, which is detrimental to nurturing and sustenance of African culture. A closer look at how our educated ladies dress these days is a clear example of adulteration of African culture, which mass communication have imported. And this seems to be one of the imperialistic weapons the western nations are using now in their neo imperialistic tendencies to enslave us directly.

According to Ewrudjakpor (1989), the acculturation of African countries is mainly through aggressive importation of mass communication products through satellite television. These mass communication channels expose individuals, social systems and the government to various programs alien to our society. Good examples include the idea of gender inequality, influence on our dressing, education and even the eating habit. All these lend themselves to influencing on beliefs, attitudes and behaviours either negatively or positively. For instance, the television drama on female circumcision is one effective persuasive way of stopping female genital mutilation in Cross River State, thus getting rid of strongly imbedded traditional beliefs in certain parts of Nigeria.

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Again, one of the greatest challenges facing developing nations is the ability to use the mass media effectively, especially in societies where rural development has become the focus of attention. Indeed, documented evidence ( UNESCO 1965; 1988) has show that Radio Farm Forum which was first developed in Canada, was later explored as UNESCO pilot project in India as a means of communicating rural development information to especially the rural people.

Some years later, Radio Farm Forums were considered as significant experiment. Today, they have proved their value and are being applied on massive scale in many regions of the world. Examples include Mail, Senegal, Togo, Gabon and Tanzania. Similarly, television documentaries, newspapers and magazine columns have been harnessed to provide developmental information is these countries.

 

Communication with rural people is a complex process involving a combination of traditional and mass media. In particularly, mass media have been known worldwide to posses certain qualities that make their uses imperative if the communication is aimed at a wider and heterogeneous audience.

 

In this study, “Mass Communication” and “Mass Media” are terms which are used interchangeably. McQuail(1969:1) states; Both expressions are abbreviations for Mass Media Communications” and refers to public television and radio, the large-circulation press, the cinema and under some circumstances to gramophone records. Normally, the term Mass Media indicates the entire system within which messages are produced, selected, transmitted, received and responded to.

O’Sullivan et al, (1983;130) also define mass communication as; the practice and the product of providing leisure entertainment and information to an unknown audience by means of corporately financed, industrially produced, state regulate, high technology, privately consumed commodities in the modern print, screen, audio and broadcast media.

Thus, mass communication in the real sense signifies mass production of messages and mass reception of messaged, Dembleby and Burton, (1985).

The main feature, when mass communication is compared with other categories of communication is that it does operate on such a large scale. In other words, it is a matter of penetration.

 

The sheer scale of the operation that the researcher is describing means that it is bound to have some effect on the things which everyone thinks are important – relationship with others, what people believe in, how people describe and understand the world around them. Mass Communication is also a part of the world.

According to Yahaya(2003), “the Mass Communication represent the system of communication that involves the use of various mass mediated channels of communication”.  By mass media, it connotes the various specialized organs or means of sending messages to a large group of people at a time. The Mass Communication channels commonly used in Nigeria are radio, television and print media.

Radio has been recognized for its outstanding qualities in Mass Communication. Apart from being an excellent media for mobilization, motivation and its capacity to sensitize people about the advent of new ideas technologies and altering people or providing topical reminders or timely information of immediate values of people to take prompt action, it also has wide coverage and it is relatively available to both rural and urban populace.

 

There are over 30 Federal Radio Stations in Nigeria while each of the 36 states including Abuja (the Federal Capital Territory) has a broadcasting station, while a few private radio stations abound in the country, in addition to ongoing 32FM Federal stations and numerous other states owned FM stations all over the country.

 

In other words of William Sweeney “radio is still the most potent communication innovation apart from the print media. It has large audience than that of any other Mass Medium. The large scale manufacture and distribution of inexpensive, battery-operated transistor radios have brought much of the world’s population into an international communication network”.

Therefore, radio is much more realistic in terms of affordability and content relevance to the need and socio-economic and demographic characteristics of Nigeria rural populace.

Radio ownership is universal phenomenon, since it enjoys widespread use throughout the world. A third and a quarter of all the inhabitants of developing countries have access to radio broadcast. Therefore, consistency in programs can provide information, promote economic and social activities, educate and elicit feedback in participatory process. In fact, radio lends support to attitudinal and opinion changes and apart from sensitizing and persuading actively on community development programs or project; hence, it is a potent tool for national development.

 

There are basically two types of television media that are available for teaching and entertaining purposes. The first and most familiar is the broadcast television, in which programs are aired over a large geographical area. The second is sometimes closed circuit television or instructional or educational television (ITV/ETV). This ETV can be used for individual learning by public servants on active service or other interested individuals who tend to further their education after working hours or when it is more convenient for them.

Broadcast television offers exciting messages to farmers through extension staff who normally discusses and demonstrate how certain farming practice can be carried out using a variety of usual aids such as chalk boards, flip charts, flannel board and even live object to enhance their teaching effectiveness on television. Besides, medical person can alert the public of certain endemic or pandemic disease such as HIV/AIDS through broadcast television. Such enlightenment programs are capable of bringing about attitudinal change which is sine qua non for prevention against deleterious disease. Similarly, home economist can use the medium (TV) to educate the public about nutrition with a view to preventing malnutrition snags in the country.

 

Despite some limitations associated with television, it has a significant advantage over radio and the print media in information dissemination process. Not only can the animator be seen and heard while using the TV but his demonstration can be followed progressively. Thus, television is characterized by the presence to motion pictures. Messages and pictures are produced and transmitted at the transmission stations while individual viewers could see such transmitted programs through their person television monitors.

One limitation is that most of the rural areas in Nigeria is not electrified.

 

In Nigeria, print journalism stated in 1846, with the establishment of a printing press in Calabar by the Presbyterian Mission. The Missionary era witnessed the establishment of the Iwe Iroyin in Abeokuta between 1854 and 1867. The emergence of indigenous newspapers started in 1914 with many of such newspaper like the African Messenger, which collapsed five year “after” the establishment of Nigeria Daily Times which brought some dynamism and a new orientation to the Nigerian Newspaper Industry, even though the colonial administration made id a subsidiary of the Lond Mirror in 1948 so as to serve British interest properly.

 

This trend is a clear manifestation of the enormous potentials of the print media as surveyors of information and vehicles for change. They can elicit support and empathy for development programs in Nigeria s obtained I other countries. Other print materials besides newspaper include magazine, posters, handbills, bulletins, extension guides, leaflets, pamphlet, manuals and textbooks. Print media are limited by the literacy level of our rural farmers and the fact that these print media are conspicuous not available in rural areas. The cover price of most of those now is too expensive that majority of Nigerians cannot afford to buy.

 

Thus, the effects of Mass Communication  are prevalent to the development and underdevelopment, to the making of a society especially a Nigerian Society using Port Harcourt city Local Government Area as case study. Hence, the need for attention to the activities of mass communication media.

 

 

 

Statement of the Problem

Mass communication media could be used to sensitize, mobilize, persuade, engender and sustain people’s interest with a view to adopting new ideas, practices or technologies that are likely to bring about holistic improvement  in the well being of a society. What the effect of mass communication need to be in this perspective is to provide and auspicious climate of agricultural and cultural, and technological development using Port Harcourt City Local Government Area as case study.

 

This research shows various mass communication channels, the role of mass communication in social development, the effect of mass communication in the society (Port Harcourt City Local Government Area as case study).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purpose of the Study

 

The main purpose to this study is to examine how mass communication affects the Nigerian Society and to determine how the mass communication and its theories affects Port Harcourt City Local Government Area, to determine how Television , Radio and Print media as shaped lives especially people of the Port Harcourt Local Government Area, to know how mass communication has influenced our young people and to take a stand on the current debate; whether or not mass media actually affect peoples’ lives and to what extends.

 

Research Questions

Scientist and scholars use theories, the earliest and the most recent to form conclusion about the effects to mass communication. Many are of course familiar with the long standing debate over the effects of television violence. But there are other media effects questions that occupy the   researcher’s interest beyond that. Based on the study the following research questions are established:

  1. Does Media Violence Lead to Aggression?

 

 

  1. Do Portrayals of Drugs and Alcohol Increase Consumption?

 

 

 

  1. What is Media’s Contribution to Gender and Racial/Ethnic Stereotyping?

 

 

 

  1. Do Media have Pro-Social Effects?

 

 

 

 

Significance of the Study

This study will help in understanding the process of mass communication; if the component of mass communication process is known and how they relate to one another, we can form expectations to how they can serve the society.

Again, the study will help create awareness of the impact of media on the individual and society. Writing and printing press help change the world and the people in it. Mass media do the same. And if the society ignores the impact of media on our lives, the society may run the risks of being caught up and carried along by that change rather than controlling or leading the change.

 

In furtherance, the study also help to give strategies for analyzing and discussing media messages; to consume media message thoughtfully, we need a foundation on which to base thought and reflection. To those who make meaning, they must possess the tools with which to make it ( for example, understanding the intent and impact of film and video conventions, such as camera angles and lighting or the strategy behind the placement of photos on the newspaper page). Otherwise, meaning is made for them; the interpretation of media content will then rest with its creator, not with them

Also, to give understanding of media content as a text that provides insight into the culture and lives of a society. This is so, because a culture and its people, attitude, values, concerns and myth are known through communication. For modern society like the researchers, media message increasingly dominate, communication, shaping the understanding of and insight into culture. An understanding of the ethical and moral obligations of media practitioner, to make informed judgment about the performance of the media, the society must also be aware of the competing pressure on the practitioners as they do their jobs.

 

 

Definition of terms and Theories

There are some certain words and theories used in this research which need to be defined and stated for clarity purpose. This is because they have some operational meaning and implication such as;

Effect: the impact of one thing over another. This could be positive, moral, developmental impact or negative immoral, destructive.

Communication: this is the transmission of a message from a source to a receiver.

Mass Communication: is the process of creating shared meaning between the mass media and their audiences.

Theory: is an attempt to explain or represent an experience in the world.

Mass Communication Theory: this is the explanations and predictions of social phenomena relating mass communication to various aspects of our personal and cultural live or social systems.

Early Window: the idea that media give children a window on the world before they have the critical and intellectual ability to judge what they see.

Willing Suspension of Belief: audience practice of willingly accepting the content before them as real.

Micro-Level Effect: effects of media on individuals.

Macro-Level Effect­: media’s wide scale social and cultural impact.

Administrative Research: studies of the immediate, practical influence of mass communication.

Critical Research: studies of the Medias’ contribution to the larger issues of what kind of nation we are building, what kind of people we are becoming.

Transmissional Perspective: the view of media as senders of information for the purpose of control.

Ritual Perspective: the view of media as central to the representation of shared beliefs and culture.

Cultivation analysis: idea that television “cultivates” or constructs a reality of the world that, although possibly inaccurate, becomes the accepted reality simply because we as a culture believe it to be reality.

Attitude Change Theory: theory that explains how peoples attitude are formed, shaped, and changed and how those attitudes influence behavior.

Middle-range Theory: idea that explain or predict only limited aspect of the mass communication process.

Paradigm: a theory that summarizes and is consistent with all known facts.

Paradigm Shift: fundamental, even radical, rethinking of what people believe to be true for a given body of knowledge.

Mass Society Theory: the idea that media are corrupting influence, they undermine the social order, and “average” people are defenseless against their influence.

Hypodermic Needle Theory: theory that media are a dangerous drug that can directly enter a person’s system.

Magic Bullet Theory: the idea from mass society theory that media are powerful “Killing force” that directly penetrates a person’s system.

Grand Theory: a theory designed to describe and explain all aspects of given phenomenon.

Limited Effect Theory: states that media’s influence is limited by people’s individual differences, social categories and personal relationships.

Two-step Flow Theory: the idea that media’s influence on people’s behavior is limited by opinion leaders- people who initially consume media content, interpret it in light of their own values and beliefs, and then pass it on to opinion followers, who have less frequent contact with media.

Opinion Leaders: People, who initially consume media content, interpret it in light of their own values and belief and then pass it on to opinion followers; from two-step flow theory.

Opinion Followers: people, who receive opinion leaders interpretation from two-step flow.

Dissonance Theory: argues that people, when confronted by new information, experience a kind of mental discomfort, a dissonance as a result, they consciously and subconsciously work to limit or reduce that discomfort through the selective process.

Selective Process: people expose themselves to, remember best and congest and reinterpret messages that are consistent with their pre-existing attitude and believe.

Selective Exposure (attention): the idea that people expose themselves or attend to those messages that consistent with their pre-existing attitude and beliefs.

Selective Retention: assumes that people remember best and congest those messages that are consistent with their existing attitudes and beliefs.

Selective Perception: the idea that people interpret messages in a manner consistent with their pre-existing attitudes and beliefs.

Reinforcement Theory: idea that if media have any impact at all, it si in the direction of reinforcement.

Uses and Gratification Approach: the idea that media do not do things to people; people do things with media.

Agenda Setting: the theory that media may not tell us what to think but do tell us what to think about.

Dependency Theory: idea that media’s power is a function of audience members’ dependency on the media and their content.

Social Cognitive Theory:  the idea that people learn through observation.

Modeling: in social cognitive theory, learning through imitation and identification.

 Imitation: in social cognitive theory, the direct replication of an observe behavior.

Identification: in social cognitive theory, a special form of imitation by which observers do not exactly copy what they have seem but make a more generalized but related response.

Inhibitory Effect: in social cognitive theory, seeing a model punished for a behavior reduces the likelihood that the observer will perform that behavior.

Disinhibitory Effects: in social cognitive theory, seeing a model rewarded for prohibited or threatening behavior increase the likelihood that the observer will perform that behavior.

Cultural theory: the idea that meaning and therefore effects are negotiated by media and audience as they interact in the culture.

Stereotyping: application of a standardized image or conception to members of certain group, usually based on some limited information.

Symbolic Interaction: the idea that people give meaning to symbols and then those symbols control people’s behavior in their presence.

Social Construction of Reality: theory for expanding how culture construct and maintain their realities using signs and symbols; argues that people learn to behave in their social world through interaction with it.

Critical Cultural Theory: idea that media operate primarily to justify and support the status quo at the expenses of ordinary people.

News Production Research: the study of how economic and other influence on the way news is produced distorts and bias news coverage toward those in power.

Stimulation of media violence, viewing mediated violence can increase the likelihood of subsequently aggressive behavior.

Aggressive Cues Mode: of media violence, media portrayals can indicate that certain classes of people are acceptable targets for real world aggression.

Desensitization: the idea that viewers becomes more accepting of real world violence because of its constant presence in television fare.