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IMPACT OF RADIO IN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (A CASE STUDY OF OKPUNO IN AWKA SOUTH LGA OF ANAMBRA STATE)

Project topic for Mass Communication department.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  • Background of the Study

Development is one universal aspiration that has remained constant and unwavering. Humankind in their insatiability has continued and perhaps will perpetually continue to long for development. Hornby (2001) defines development as “the gradual growth of something so that it becomes more advanced, stronger, etc.”

The new Webster’s dictionary of the English language (1994) is more laconic in describing it as “to grow or expand”. However, a more elaborate definition as offered by Linden (1989) in Okunna (2002) sees it “as the process of change which aims at achieving self reliance and improved living conditions for the underprivileged majority of the people”. Discussing development, Ndolo (2006) defines development as “the improvement in socio-economic and political conditions of the individual and his society”. 

The essence of the above definitions is that development is a process of growth and progressive change which impacts positively on the life of the people and their welfare. By the very nature of human development becomes an unavoidable desire-hence humanity’s persistent and continue to do something untiring struggles to achieve it.

Communication obviously is one tool in the hand of humanity’s quest for development. Fiske (1990) defines communication “as social interaction through messages” in this way humanity’s social interaction (which brings development) happens only through communication, communication on its part takes place through certain media. These media could be interpersonal or mass. The employment of this media in achieving communication has become known as development communication. Development communication means “the use of all forms of communication in reporting, publicizing and promotion of development at all levels of a society” according to Edeani;(1993). Among the various media of communication available to humankind in his development struggles, radio has been identified to possess great potentials. As rightly observed by Udeze (2005) “ radio is accredited with being the only medium that is really a mass medium in the developing countries because it can overcome the triple barriers of illiteracy, language  and distance in community journalism, therefore , radio becomes particularly effective. Through community journalism, the development journalist uses radio to reach to the poorest and the commonest of the people. He gets them constructively informed and mobilized for developmental actions.

The exclusive viability of radio as a tool for community development in Nigeria should not be in dispute, as a nation like every other third world nation is highly plagued by the twin diseases of mass illiteracy and poverty. This according to Udeze (2005) makes radio the only viable media of communication for achieving development. With the deregulation of the nations broadcast section in 1992 through the national broadcasting commission (NBC)decree, there came a natural proliferation in the number of the radio stations in the country. And with the advent of the democratic dispensation in 1999 the federal and state government invested more in the broadcast sector with the view to having more radio and television stations to support government administrative efforts. Though the NBC decree of 1992 (and as amended by the NBC Act 2002) has no accommodation for community radio operation, the government-owned radio stations scattered across the nation have continued to prove the much desired community-based broadcasting by at least ensuring constant transmission of programmed in vernacular and in manner familiar to the local inhabitants. For example, Ugboaja (1979) in Ndolo (2006) reports that “Don manuma “ an agricultural drama programme broadcast by FRCN Kaduna in Hausa, has proven effective in teaching villagers about farming, nutrition and animal husbandry. Thus, the nation seems to be responding to the need for the application of the medium of radio in enhancing development. Considering the fact that radio does not just educate, entertain and inform but is also expected to sensitize and motivate the people towards accepting goals, there has been controversies over whether or not the radio have been utilized in carrying out the later role. It is therefore, against this background that this research intends to study the impacts of radio as a development-enhancing tool in Nigeria, with particular focus on Okpuno community in Awka south LGA of Anambra state.

  • Statement of the Problem
  • That radio has great potentials for enhancing community development is indisputable. However, certain problematic factors lie in the way of harnessing these potentials.
  • Firstly, the fact that media messages have been found not to have a direct and straight forward effect on the audience as a result of the presence of intervening variables gives one cause to worry, as to the total reliability of radio as a developmental tool. These intervening variables may indeed defeat the whole goal of development journalism executed through radio.
  • Secondly, the fact that the government principally propels development with the people basically assisting with their support makes developmental journalism (at least in our context) substantially the act of soliciting for peoples support for government’s developmental efforts. Consequently, one gets curious as to the people’s willingness to heed to the message being communicated to them by the government through these mass media. 
  • Purpose of the Study
  • The objective of this study is to assess the impact radio has on community development. It is the concern of the work to establish whether this positive impact is realizable in the face of the numerous intervening variables and the obvious weakness of the radio medium itself.
  • Based on this seemingly observation, the objective of this study include:

1. To determine whether the peculiar qualities of accessibility, mobility and generality of appeal posed by radio make the medium more effective in community development.

2. To find out whether the seeming mistrust of the government by Nigerian negativity interferes with the effectiveness of radio based development-oriented messages.

3. To determine whether the growing accessibility of television has continued to bring down the power of radio as a tool for community development.

  • Significance of the Study
  • The significance of this study lies in the contribution it may make on how to achieve development using the radio. It will also show the strength and potentials of the radio as a development-enhancing tool. In this way, the society will become better informed on how best to employ it in her developmental drives.
  • In the area of scholarship, the work will contribute its quota to the enormous study already made in the areas of community journalism and development journalism.

Scope of the Study

This study is concerned with how effective radio could be in supporting community development. In the conducting this research, the study limited its scope to looking at how the peculiar qualities of radio has helped in enhancing its development potentials, how the people’s seeming mistrust of the government in Nigeria could limit radio as a development tool, and how much the radio has maintained its developmental relevance in the face of the obvious challenge by television, which is fast becoming equally accessible by the people.

Delimitations of the Study

This study was limited by factors of time, money and manpower availability. Unavailability of sufficient scholarly materials was also a veritable source of constraint to the research. The challenges posed by these factors would limit, although not damaging the total success of the study.

  • Research Questions
  • To achieve the objective of this study, the research would seek to provide answers to the following questions:

1. Do you think that the peculiar qualities of accessibility, mobility and generality of appeal posed by radio make the medium more effective in community development?

2. Does the seeming mistrust of the government by Nigerian negativity interferes with the effectiveness of radio based development-oriented messages?

3. Do you think that the growing accessibility of television has continued to bring down the power of radio as a tool for community development?

  • Research Hypotheses
  • The following research hypotheses were formulated for testing:
  • 1. H1. The peculiar qualities of accessibility, mobility and generality of  appeal possessed by radio make the medium more effective in community development.
  • Ho. The peculiar qualities of accessibility, mobility and generality of appeal possessed by radio do not make the medium more effective in community development.
  • 2. H2. The seeming mistrust of the government by Nigerians
  • negatively interferes with the effectiveness of radio-based development oriented messages.
  • Ho. The seeming mistrust of the government by Nigerians do not
  • negatively interferes with the effectiveness of radio-based    development oriented messages.
  • 3. H3. The growing accessibility of television has continued to
  •               Bring down power of radio as a tool for community
  •                development.
  • Ho      The growing accessibility of television has not led to the
  •          decline of the power of radio as a tool for community
  •              development.
  • Definition of Terms
  • For the purpose of clarity some terms used in this study are hereby defined:
  • Communication: this is the act of exchanging messages by any means among humans. Communication is also “a process, a dynamic, ongoing, transactional of understanding and sharing ideas and feeling which translate to meaning.
  • Community journalism: this is a community-based journalism; that keeps the community in focus, ensuring the close participation of her members in the packaging of media content.
  • Development: is the process of growth and improvement by a community which results in a better life for her members. Development also is a ‘process of change which aims at achieving self reliance and improve living conditions for the unprivileged majority of population’ (Linden 1989:36).
  • Developmental journalism: this is the application of the communication principles and media in enhancing development.
  • Mass media: this refers to channels of mass communication. Mass media targets larger audience, and their audience is said to be faceless because they are anonymous.

Third world: A collective reference name for the numerous poor countries scattered mainly in Africa, Asia and South America, with their economies generally characterized by low GDP, income per capital, unemployment, poor infrastructure and generally low standard of living.



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