The Role Of Television In Political Persuasion

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THE ROLE OF TELEVISION IN POLITICAL PERSUASION

INTRODUCTION

Mass communication is defined as message directed towards a large group people using a mass medium. It involves disseminating information to a large and widely dispersed audience mass communication is made possible through the help of mass media. That is to say mass media makes mass communication a reality mass media include television, radio newspaper magazines etc.   Researchers in mass communication were interested in knowing how specific massage; channels and sources could produce changes in attitude of behaviours.

This was the natural outgrowth of the way mass communication research have developed from the 1920s fueled by public fear of the media, along with anxious politicians, eager advertiser, crusading social engineers and others watching to see the massive reach of the media; “to get their message across” quickly and efficiently. Government, military and corporate funding sources played an important role in the decision of those working within the field to take the direction. The goal was to determine what kind of persuasive message could be used most effectively in mobilizations of various kind political, advertising, public health, economic, educational, military and so on.   Recent changes to the technologies of both the print and electronic media, and in particular the medium of television have already begun to fragment media audience and transform the relationship between media and the nation (masses)

Therefore the utilization of the media in mobilization and persuasion is very crucial because the broadcast media, particularly the television has become the major sources of information dissemination over the years, and also the major means and most effective tools for political persuasion in Nigeria.   The ability of television to mobilize and persuade the people to behave in a given manner and to perform certain actions has merit an effective tool for political persuasion because it can send sound and picture simultaneously to a large and widely disposal audience, and it is captivating and dramatic in nature.

Television appeals to the sense of sight and sound; it is comprehensive technique and the combination of audio and visual colours and motion. It has the ability to capture the interest of most viewers. That is why government and other private bodies give much attention to it. The media (television) serves as an intermediary between the government and the people because it assists the government in getting its plans and policies across to the people and the people in return gets their response, feeling and plight back to the government.   After many years of military rule in Nigeria, democracy became a much needed endeavour and television serves as a major tools through which the people were fully information education, enlightened, mobilized and persuaded to activity participate in the decision making in the country during transition period.   Television and NTA Kaduna to a large extend help in making the people in Nigeria to get all the political awareness, and it mobilize the people to both contest election and be voted for, or to vote for a candidate of their choice as an electorate. The importance of television in order to ensure a successful transition in Nigeria cannot be under estimated. Television really plays a key role in political persuasion in Nigeria.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY 

The main objectives of this study is to stress the role or importance of television in political persuasion and outline its effectiveness in political mobilization and persuasion during transitionship and the importance television in the society and the effect and acceptability of television messages in the society in relation to other media of mass communication.   Further, the role of NTA Kaduna in Political persuasion is also emphasized in this study and the reality and credibility of television messages across great distance is clearly exposed and explained.   This study is finally designed to make government and other private bodies know the importance of the media and particularly the television, in political awareness, mobilization and persuasion.

SCOPE OF STUDY This research  work is centered on the role of television in political persuasion with NTA kaduna as a case study. It is worth knowing that since anything that is media related is usually broad and cannot be discussed in isolation, other facts about the role and importance of the media (television) world also sufficed in the course of writing the term paper.

LIMITATION OF STUDY 

The limitation encountered in the course of this study is not encountered to the fact that the relevant information and documents required were not provided by the media organization because of the confidentiality of such information to the media organization.   This research work is also in intended for many broadcast media, but due to time factor and financial constraint, it was limited to NTA Kaduna

BRIEF HISTORY OF CASE STUDY 

The Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Kaduna is an off shoot of the former broadcasting company of Northern Nigeria Kaduna (BCNN) which was established in March, 1962. it was originally established as a Radio and Television Broadcasting corporation from which its former name of Radio Television Kaduna came about. The station has been subjected to various changes by the succeeding governments.

Nigeria television Authority (NTA) Kaduna was excised from the former Broadcasting Corporation of Northern Nigeria (BCNN), which was established by decree No 21 of 31st March 1962, the decree took effect from April 1st 1976.

The station has 10 kilometer each cover to down south of Kaduna, Malumfashi in Katsina state and part of Kano State.

The transmitter operates on 4 bands 1 VHF, transmitter which is situated at No 99, Isah Kaita Road Kaduna, and was commission in 1993 and covers up to Kafanchan, Saminaka and Birnin Gwari. The transmitter could be said to cover three quarter of the land area of Kaduna.

In April, 1976, the former Federal Military Government took the television aspect of Radio Television Kaduna and Made it to be on its own which is the present Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Kaduna, and the Radio aspect was called Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Kaduna.

DEFINITION OF TERMINOLOGIES The terminologies to be defined constitute the title of this term paper. The Title is the Role of Television in Political Persuasion. The terminologies could therefore be defined as follows:

ROLE: The Advance learners dictionary define roles as a function that a person or thing typically has or is expected to have.

TELEVISION: The Webster dictionary defines television as the exact and continuous transmission of visual image, still or in motion but without permanent recording. For instantaneous viewing at a distance; effected by a combine optical and electrical system for converting waves into corresponding electrical impulses, which are converted into their visual form in a receiving set.

POLITICAL: The Webster dictionary defines the word “political” as anything pertaining to public policy concerned in the administration of government.

MOBILIZATION:   This is the art of making people to behave in a given manner and to perform certain actions.

The work of different scholars on broadcast media and particularly the radio.

Much has been said and a lot has been written on the broadcast media and on television. The mass media particularly the television has been an effective tool in mass mobilization and persuasion in political activities over the years due to the improvement in science and technology, which has positively affected the broadcasting industry.

To support this research work with close reference to the field of mass communication, I will like to use the social responsibility theory of the press. The Hut Pus commission in 1947 emphasized that the mass media should be much more responsible to the society. The theory attempts to reconcile media independence with its obligation to the society. It stated that it is the duty of the media (television)to instruct and inform the public to make it capable of self – government as well as protecting the rights of individuals against the government through its watch dog functions.

In line with the above mentioned theory television serves as an important tool in mobilizing and persuading the people through its various programmes. Certain programmes aired on radio make the people to become practically aware and actively participate in the decision making of the country (Nigeria) during transition period. Through television, the people are also enlighten on their right to vote and be voted for as well as making sure the people exercise these rights by reporting any cases of infringement by either the government or private individuals.

It is necessary to drive home the level of influence the media has on us. This influence becomes even more prevalent if a given medium (Television) has proven over a span of time that it has credibility and a sense of responsibility. The sense of responsibility displayed by television stations in Nigeria manifested during the 1999 transition from military to civilian government. The television stations didn’t cover the transition programmes in a way that would have been capable of bringing about disastrous consequences.

TELEVISION MESSAGES

Joseph R. Dominick (2001) viewed that communication process is in seven stages. They air

1) Sender

2) Encoding

3) Message

4) Channel

5) Receiver

6) Decoding

7) Feedback

The explanation of the communication process by Joseph R. Dominick is that the senders of information encode his message, which is sent through channel to the receiver who decodes the message, and react according to the message (feed back).

There cannot be information without a message. Message makes communications possible and a reality, and it is the king on the center of information. Before communication takes place, there had to be a message, which serves as the cake of content of information, gets to the people through a medium of communication. There has to be a message before communication takes place. And as far as the media is concerned, information dissemination, which has message as its content, is the Hallmark of all its activities.

The broadcast media particularly television has become the major source of information dissemination. According to Mac Bride, the rise of television as a communication medium is obvious more striking since started from a zero base only a few decade ago, there has been tremendous and rapid improvement in television production since, its inception few years back. The first practical television system began operating in the 1940’s.

The picture television produced during its adolescent stage was black and white. Today television viewer’s watch programmes on television in their natural colours. This occurred as a result of the improvement in technology, which paved way for the production of coloured television. A television message, which appears in audio and visual, appeals to the sense of sight and sound. This further authenticates the messages sent across through it by giving the right picture and sound of the event or object for easy, comprehension and clearer identification.

Finally, there cannot be information without a message. The television message, which appears in audio and visual has a wide reach. That is why the government and private bodies gives much attention to it. Television has a wider appeal and acceptability than other media of mass communication, and its nature, which send messages across through audio (natural voices) and visual (real pictures) makes most people inclined to believe in television message most people inclined to believe in television to report more accurately than the other media of mass communication. This is a survey carried out by zenaty in 1999.

TELEVISION AND THE SOCIETY

The mass media and the society are two fundamental field of study for any who wants to influence opinions in the society. It is a key to understanding the different political, socio – economic and socio – cultural happening in the society.

It is believed that communication at any given time reflect the value pattern of a society because it determines where and when information flows, as well as who shares it with who. it can therefore be said that communication reflects the homogeneity of cultures. It is essential for communication to fit organically into the political and socio – economic structures of a society and be consistent with the society’s cultural values, because communication has been established as the bedrock of any society.

Through communication system in the society is just like any other system, yet it is assumed to be the life wire of the society, because where there is no information flow, misinformation will rule and that can lead to confusion while it is believed that without the society, there is no communication there cannot be society. This shows the reason while government strives to have the media under their control. The Nigeria government over the years has been able to control a reasonable chunk of the media, this they have done to uphold and advance their policies.

Right from traditional times to present day society, communication has been a vital part of the society. It has gone through revolutionary and evolutionary changes, underlining activities in the society activities as economy, health, politics, education etc.

It significance is that it has becomes a nerve linking societies and their activities together. From the time man became aware of his environment and took his first step on the sand of civilization, man began to invent various ways of communication and the media is the result of this invention.

The audience role is also worthy of attention Michael Gurrenvitch and Jay .G. Blumer (Mass communication and society) explained that different receivers of political information are motivated by different expectation of it, developed different orientation toward it and many therefore be perceived as playing different roles in political communication system.

As political freedom downed on societies in Nigeria, television has been an important means of socio – economic and political development.

Television as a mass medium serves as an effective means for political and socio – cultural mobilization and persuasion in the society. According to Medinick Sornaff “A serious political and socio cultural issue involving attitude is the effect of the mass media especially television.” (Medinick Sornaff .A. 1975 P. 442).

RELATIVE IMPORTANCE OF TELEVISION TO THE SOCIETY

The importance of television to the society cannot be overemphasized. They include; Information, Education, Entertainment, Enlightenment, watchdog, Surveillance, Mobilization / persuasion etc.

Information: The media (Television) helps the society to acquire useful information on what affect it. There is a need for information in the society and television is dedicated to the provision of such information.

Education: Television educates people on a whole number of things, be it on health, politics, driving, cooking etc. television particularly educates the people on how to go about certain issues that the people are completely ignorant of.

Entertainment: Television entertains the people through the various musical programmes, drama and comedies it usually  aired.

Enlightenment: Television help to increase our awareness. This means that the television adds to our knowledge and gives more understanding into issues that is known, but not deeply known.

Watchdog Role: The Media (Television) from inception has taken up the untiring job of monitoring the government and its policies to ensure it does not run foul to the laws of the land. Inspite of government constant harassment. The media has not relented in action as checks and balance between government and the society.

Surveillance: The television has enormous task of examine what is happening in the society, compiling and interpreting to give the public a better understanding of events and issues it keep tabs on events, investigate how it affects the society and ensures that disasters or infringement of right are avoided.

Mobilization/Persuasion: The television through its various programmes persuades the people to behave in a given manner and to perform certain actions. For instance Nigerian Television Authority Kaduna has being airing certain political programmes that is mobilizing and persuading the people to take part in the 2007 General Election.

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