THE MASS MEDIA AS CHANNEL FOR CREATING AWARENESS AND MOBILIZING PUBLIC SUPPORT (A CASE STUDY OF THE NIGERIA TELEVISION AUTHORITY, CHANNEL 8, ENUGU). A RESEARCH PROJECT MATERIAL ON MASS COMMUNICATION
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
Generally, all mass media organs in all established societies are expected to fulfill certain responsibilities and these obviously would include creating awareness and mobilizing public support towards governmental or public oriented programmes. Television, as a mass media organ, is equally expected to fulfill these functions as well.
First of all, it would be necessary to explain what television as a medium of mass communication actually is.
According to Janowitz, (1968) mass communication comprises the Institutions and techniques by which specialized groups employ technological devices press, radio, films, television etc. to disseminate symbolic contents to large, heterogeneous and widely dispersed audience, and television being an organ of mass communication employ technological devices to disseminate symbolic contents as it were to large, heterogeneous and widely dispersed audience.
How has television as a medium of mass communication been able to fulfill one of its responsibilities, the mobilization of public support, and the creation of awareness among the people has the Nigeria television expectations through its programmes? Both the federal and state governments have programmes that obviously require public support that would make it possible for them to realize their expectations. Programmes like the War Against Indiscipline, Environmental Sanitations, need to go back to the farms, payment of taxes, improved health services all require the support of members of the public for its success.
One is not left in doubt as to the importance of television if these expectations of those in government are going to be realized.
The NTA, Enugu has a number of programmes and jingles that are specifically aimed at creating awareness and then mobilizing public support towards these programmes of both the federal and state governments. In the words of Mr. Jerry Ugwu of the NTA Enugu.
“Ours is to get the people think along with the government through our programmes and jingles, I think the people are responding positively”.
The success of any government programme depends largely on the amount of support it generates. Awareness and mobilization are no doubt very important variables in this regard.
Perhaps this was why Wibbur Schramm in his book, on mass media and National development examined the various way people can be mobilized for national development.
According to him many developing countries mobilize their human resources to move heavy loads, more advance economics, would have been done by machines. A horde of men scrapping a new fair field or cutting a new road with raw hardy tools, lines of women carrying baskets of dirt or stones on their heads. Schramm feels that the best way to accomplish these tasks of mobilization of the people is through the mass media.