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IMPACT OF INTERNET IN NIGERIA SOCIETY (A STUDY ENUGU SOUTH METROPOLIS)


Project topic for Mass Communication department

CHAPTER ONE

Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study
As the world grows complex and sophisticated, internet technologies are invented. The invention of internet technologies has been a catalyst for change in the broadcast industry. This change can be attributed to the introduction of internet technologies in broadcasting occasioned by giant technological advancement.

The advancement in media technologies has cut the barrier of time and space in our broadcast industry; it has also made communication easier and more democratic and the creation and distribution of media content easier. No wonder Defleur and Dennis (1991: 229) in Omeje (2011:67) observed that: Technology has always been a metaphor for change in media industry. As far back as Gutenberg, it was technology: the movable type that spurred change. Later, fast printing presses, the telegraph, zinc engraving, modern photography, radio, television, fibre optics, and other technologies heralded new developments for media and their audience.

The emergence of internet technologies and the imaginative applications of these new technologies and older technologies make it possible for the society to be more informed. It also makes information processing, delivery, storage and retrieval easier. As the world strives towards globalization, the internet technologies are believed to be a great facilitator of this move.

Nsude (2012:102) believes that the human family is disunited and fragmented into nations and cultures with conflicting interest and perceptions and there is need therefore for a more united world. Throughout history, internet and new forms of media delivery have continually appeared. Today we have witnessed the arrival of a global community brought about by advances in communication technologies. This has invariably brought to fore the concept of globalization. Marshal McLuhan, a Canadian Scholar, who foresaw the effect of technological change in communication, said that the human society has been restored to a global village‟. The concept of global village assumes that “communication technology now work like the nervous system in the human family. Messages could be sent and received with surprising speed. This therefore has shrunk the world into a smaller place not because of a contraction in landmass, but due to the marvels in communication technologies.

The internet technologies play functional roles and make tremendous contributions to the day to day running of the broadcast industry and society. Each advance in communication increases our power to convey and record information, and each has played a role in prompting significant changes in our culture and society. It is difficult to digest fully the influence of one medium before another comes on the scene. Prior to the arrival of new media technologies, broadcasting equipment has been mechanical or analogue in nature.

These mechanical states of the equipment hinder effective production and dissemination of news and information. Even the transmission of broadcast signals was often affected by wave interference, hedges and unclear signals. The reception of signals was largely limited to the carrying capacity of the transmitter. The arrival of the computer has had enormous influence in the production process in the broadcast industry. The computer has put tremendous speedon news reporting and editing making the process almost instantaneous. This process lays strong emphasis on accuracy as Agba (2010:3) citing Swinton (1974) observes, “You cannot catch up with an error in an era of satellite circuits and high speed wires” in today’s cyberspace, high-tech age, the computer has reduced, if not completely removed, the difficulties in the production of media products through the electronic system. For instance, in the past, the production and distribution process in a broadcast industry involved clear definitive steps and employed manual labour.

Today, studies have revealed that broadcast industry especially in Europe and North America not only gather information but also have their stories written using computers. This modern technology eliminates the need for compositors to type because reporters have done the key stroking and the story already exists in an electronic form. In addition, many reporters run their stories through computers that correct spelling and grammar. Also editors plan the pages of stories on computers, further reducing the need for compositors. For instance with the internet technologies AIT news can be accessed from any part of the world. The station’s transmission on satellite has broken the barriers inherent in analogue system and non-satellite system.

However, the introduction and acquisition of internet technologies have strongly influenced broadcast transmission and reception particularly in Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Daar Communications Ltd (AIT).

According to Agba (2010:47) technology is integral to a global marketplace wherein media companies and individual media come together and compete across national boundaries in a fashion unheard of only some years back. Broadcasting as a branch of mass communication has witnessed a landmark transformation into a field of vigorous competition with vast liberalization of infrastructure, information can now be digitalized, transported, stored, retrieved, modified and distributed. High speed digital electronic highways serve as the common technology through which these pieces of information are transported.

With the introduction of internet technologies, the broadcast media have penetrated deeply into the basic fabrics of our social institutions in the society by beaming out information and programmes that meet and satisfy the needs and aspirations of their listener and viewer. In the words of Bittner (2009:37) Technology has aided the media to move from the experimental stage, to the present stage where they now exert great influence on world events.

With the introduction of new technologies in broadcasting, such as the Internet, satellite cable system, fibre optics to mention but a few, journalism practice across national boundaries has taken a drastic turn for the better. Technology has aided both the print and broadcast media to establish a strong presence in the Cyberspace. This brings us to the concept of technological convergence.
By technological convergence we mean the continuous development in media technology aimed at bringing about a blend in technologies in the process of message delivery. Okoro (2010:37) citing Folkerts et al states that in this process, technological changes not only create new forms of media but also cause formally distinct media forms such as newspapers to blend or overlap functions with the internet, as is now the case with news on television and the internet.

In view of the foregoing, a problem arises as to how to gauge the influence of these new technologies on broadcast content, message delivery, information reach and quality. Given the startling development of internet technologies and the expectation that proper application of these technologies would improve broadcasting in Nigeria this study will therefore, examine the impact of internet in Nigeria society looking at Enugu south local government Area.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

It is saddening that despite the startling developments in media technology, internet in Nigeria is yet to assimilate into the lives of people. The new innovation of internet is such that could catalyzed awareness of events, news and other aspects of information. The advancement in media technology can only be said to be achieving the desired ends when they readily and continuously influence positively the operations sending and receiving of information. What this translates to, is that the success or otherwise of all internet can only be measured in terms of the extent to which it sensitizes and informs the users about imminent occurrences in their environment and beyond.

The major improvement on the accuracy, speed and transfer of message has redefined the concept of broadcasting to an enviable height. The use of internet technologies can only be said to be effective when the media professionals and audience benefit from the technologies through improved quality of programmes. The problem still remains as to how to assess the extent to which the internet technologies have influenced the television stations in Enugu metropolis. ( NTA Enugu, ESBS Enugu and AIT Enugu).

How have the internet technologies enhanced productivity in terms of accuracy and news production in these stations? Are the public broadcast stations more abreast of the influence of the internet or the private broadcast station more aware of this influence? How have the internet technologies influenced the members of staff? How proficient are the members of staff in the use of these internet technologies? What are the challenges posed by these technologies to the members of staff? How do the stations acquaint their staff with the operations of internet technologies? Are these influences positive or negative?

How have these technologies helped to overcome the barriers of time space and distance? What are the resultant effects of the total qualities of programmes as a result of the use of internet technologies? This research is therefore set basically to answer this question; what influences have internet technologies played in society, with regard to NTA Enugu, ESBS Enugu and AIT this is the interest of the researcher.

1.3 Objectives of Study

The objectives of this study include the following;

(i) To determine the extent to which the internet technologies have influenced the operations of the broadcast media.
(ii) To examine the level of proficiency of the members of staff in the use of internet technologies.
(iii) To determine the extent to which internet technologies have been incorporated into the stations operations.
(iv) To determine the challenges posed by internet technologies to broadcast operations.

1.4 Research Questions
To realize the objectives of this study, the following research questions were asked;

i. To what extent have the internet technologies influenced the operations of the broadcast media in terms of reach, programmes, economy etc?
ii. How proficient are the members of staff in the use of the internet technologies?
iii. To what extent have the stations incorporated internet technologies in their operations?
iv. What are the challenges posed by these new technologies to the broadcast industry?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

H0: The internet technologies have no influenced on the operations of the broadcast media in terms of reach, programmes, and economy.
H1: The internet technologies have influenced the operations of the broadcast media in terms of reach, programmes, and economy.
H0: The members of the staff are proficient.
H1: The members of the staff are not proficient.

1.6 Significance of Study

This study will be beneficial in the following ways:

- The findings will help to reposition the thought pattern and help media professionals to get acquainted with the new technologies to help produce quality programmes.

- The findings of this research will add to the existing literatures and act as a handy material for students who might have interest in researching further on the topic.

- The study shows the extent to which broadcast media have incorporated the use of modern technologies in their operations.

The findings from this research ascertained how favourable or unfavourable these new technologies are to the broadcast media.

1.7 Scope of the Study

The interest of this study lied in the influence of internet technologies in society with regard to television stations in metropolis. The work does not study the generality of influence on all the equipment used in society; rather it restricts itself to only internet (Internet), satellite technology, cable system, computer, digital cameras, fibre optic, teletext and digital television employed in society. Analogue equipment and other equipment not mentioned above are not within the scope of this study.

1.8 Definitions of Terms

For a proper understanding of this work, key terms used are defined based on their conceptual relevance to this study.

Influence: According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary(7th ed.). Influence is the effect that somebody or something has on the way a person thinks or behaves or on the way that something works or develops. It could be further said as the power that somebody or something has to make somebody or something behave in a particular way.

Internet: According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary(7th ed.). Internet means new information and entertainment technologies, such as the Internet,
CD-ROMs and Digital Television. On the other hand McQuail (2005:136) simply defines the “internet as a disparate set of communication technologies that shares certain features apart from being new made possible by digitalization and being widely available for personal use as communication devices.

Media Technologies: This refers to any special device or medium that helps in the procession, distribution, storage, display and reception of information.

Broadcast: This is the business of sending out radio and television signals over adistance, to a large heterogeneous audience by means of airwaves.

Broadcast Media: This is that electronic media or channel that uses the airwaves which enables signals and information to be transmitted to a large and diverse audience.

Convergence: According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (7thed.).Convergence means to move towards a place from different direction and meet.

Digital: According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (7th ed.). Digital means using a system of receiving and sending information as a series of the numbers, numbers one to zero, showing that an electronic signal is there or is not there.

Globalization: This means international integration. It can be describe as a process by which the people of the world are unified into a single society. This process is a combination of economic, technology, socio – cultural and political forces. www.wikipedia.org.

Internet: According to the Wikipedia. org the internet also known as the “Net” or the “Web” can be easily understood as a “network of networks”. Specifically, it is the worldwide publicly accessible network of international computer networks that transmits data by packet switching using the standard internet protocol (IP). Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (7th ed.). “Internet” is an international computer network connecting other networks and computers from companies, universities, etc


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