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In the 21st century societies, the availability of information is imperative to better decision making by every reasoning citizen. The news media platformssuch as television and radio make information available to the public. Although it would be believed that any mass communication medium or channel exist for its immediate audience first and the distant audience at large, it could however be doubtfully believed the possibility of the media audience to ignore the immediate (local) news media and go for the distant (foreign) ones as a result of preference which perhaps could be heightenby contents and news reportage of these media, (Obot, 2013).
Most Nigerian media scholars have argued that the Nigerianews media wield such enormous powers and call for highest standard in news reportage and programmes presentation,nevertheless the growth of the media in Nigeria,as suggested by Omenugha and Orji, (2013, p29) has not been without challenges.
A close observation creates an illusion that average Nigerians enjoy and tune to foreign channels and stations on their television and radio sets. Inspite of the fact that the news media industry in Nigeria has so expanded in that radio and television stations presently in operations are now in good number and are spread all over the country. These media stations dwell in feeding the public with the daily occurrences in form of news, views, public announcement, features, documentaries, programmes,etc. other services of these news media to its audience are education and entertainment. Inrespect of this, this study focusedon Nigerianmedia andforeign news media, an assessment of Nigeria media audience preference.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
It is oftenbeen argued that the expansion of Western media production into developing countries is the result seen in the domination of their national media environments and the consequent destruction of their indigenous media production (Chadha and Kavoori 2000).
The world has so developed and technologyadvanced that one can sit anywhere and watch or listen to any channel or station of his/her choice from any part of the world. With just a touch on the screen or a click of a button, one is taken round the whole world while other happenings and events in the world are delivered at the door step of any interested audience. Considering this fast development in the media circle, it seems to be pertinent that any media organization or a country’s media industry that would be eager to win audience preference and acceptance, dance to the tune of the audience’s news, contents and programmes desire, (Idoko 2010: pg46).
The important question that would be streaming the minds of people at this juncture is; do Nigeria news media produce programmes and contents that satisfy the quest that Nigeria public have for media programmes and news? If deviation is seen in the contents that Nigeria news media produce for its audience, then it could be certain that the audience would prefer other news media that could satisfy their thirst for contents and programmes.
With regard to Nigeria media, Itappears that they have losttheir glory and the focus of its audience. Perhaps it is important that once in a while Nigeria news media heads sit back and ask, “Do Nigerian residents really watch or listen to my station?”This question as being one of the greatest problems faced in Nigeria media which has being bordering news broadcasters, media owners and journalist in Nigeria.No wonder Omoera and Ibagere(2010: pg113) opine,that apart from putting the Nigerian broadcasters in a dilemma of some sort, the various forms of the phenomenon do not help in any significant way to integrate the rural populace into the mainstream of socio-cultural and socio-economic growth and development of Nigeria and thus the prognosis of the situation is precarious for the Nigerian television [and other]media. And having a close observation, it seems Nigeria news media have lost the acceptance of the Nigeria media audience to the foreign news media, (Omoeraet al, 2010).
In the same vein, it might not be easily saidmedia channels in developed countries have won the acceptability of Nigerian media audience. The out shinning hunger for the western life over the African culture by the Nigeria audience may also be argued as the cause of our journalists having deviation and sometimes putting much of the developed countries media life into the system. With regard to this general African situation, Omoera (2008) maintains that imperialistic strictures have compelled most growing democracies in Africa to tag along established Western democracies in virtually all facets of human endeavour.
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
The digital television transition by developed countries could be of great advantage to these countries.In recent times, more countries of the world are experiencing shift from analog broadcasting to digital broadcasting and have recognized the huge benefit which digital broadcasting offers.Many of the Third WorldCountries are also making a huge effort to gauge this shift from analog broadcasting to digital broadcasting which would have enormous impart in sustaining their audience preference.It has being observed that Nigeria media is not fast growing along with the 21st century broadcasting to help win or uphold the Nigerian media due to the fact that poor technological achievement.
Another problem faced by Nigeria media which has cause Nigeria media downfall is imperialism, rampant growth of commercialization, the decline of public broadcasting, the dominance of entertainment programming and a lack of genuine diversity in programme genres and formats that collectively represent a more significant threat to media systems which could easily cause loss of acceptance of the media by its audience or in the opposite direction, increase and maximize the level of acceptance of such media. Against this backdrop, this study examines Nigerian media and foreign news media, an assessment of Nigeria media audience preference.
1.3 PURPOSE / RATIONALE OF STUDY
The general purpose of this study is to ascertainif Nigerians prefer Nigeria media or foreign news media and their reasons for such preference.Specificpurposes are;
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In order to aid the investigation of the research problem, the following research questions were posed:
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The study will be of benefit to Nigerian citizens,Nigeria media,Nigeria government, academic institution and to fellow researchers. For the Nigerian citizens, the study will be of benefit to them since it will establish various contribution of Nigerian media to the development of the country, maintenance of peace and enable the citizens realize the more that Nigeria media plays a vital role as a source of information. It is also significant to the citizens of Nigeria because it would widen the scope of an individual to tune to different stations for the same information from different angles as he builds his opinions. This can also be benefit to Nigerian society in general as it tells the Nigerian media audience the standard of news media stations and channels in the country. For Nigeria media, thisstudy is significantsince it will enable the mediaestablish quality new for Nigerians.The study will also enable Nigeria media system to improve on news reportage in order to strengthen its ability of competing with its counter parts in other countries within the 21st century media system. To the government, it reviews the necessityof total freedom of the media. To academic institutions, it hints the need to encourage researchers to spend more time and money on media issues while it will help researchers who have tried to evaluate the quality and authenticity of news aired on Nigeria news media. Also, it letsthe Nigeria media industry know the state of media system in the country. For follower researchers, the findings of the study will serve as source of information and as reference material for fellow researchers.
1.6 SCOPE OF STUDY
The scope of this study covers the issue of media preference as regard Nigeria news media and foreign news media by Nigerians. It was limited to assessing the Nigeria audience preference of news media between communication channels in Nigeria and communication channels of other countries referred to as foreign media.
The communication channels focused on, in this studywere limited to radio and television stations.In terms of geographical local; the study covers Awka metropolis which consist of Awka North and south Local government Area of Anambra State Nigeria.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
For the purpose of clarity, some terms usedin this study were defined as used in the study. These are as follows:
Assessment: Systematic evaluation base on available information.
News: Timely account of daily occurrences reporting from the news media to the audience.
News Media: Medium or channels through which newsget to the public or audience.
Foreign News Media: Channels of mass communication that are not Nigeria based.
Nigeria News Media: All channels of mass communication owned by or based in Nigeria.
Media Audience: Users of the mass media who expose themselves to a subject of interest in the media which can come inform of news.
Preference: Making a particular one the first choice out of two or many that are available.
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