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Television as a Channel for Creating Awareness and Mobilizing Public Support

Television as a Channel for Creating Awareness and Mobilizing Public Support (A Study of Abs Awka)

Review of Related Literature and Theoretical Framework

This chapter deals with a review of concept and studies related to this study. Melvin and Sandra (1962:16) on the Agenda setting theory of the press declared that neither individual nor their opinion leaders control the selection of activities of the media that some among potential topics for presentation or among the available set of information about these topics.

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Moreover, even though the television delivers information on a broad range of topics, people have neither the time nor the energy to form attitude and beliefs about everything. They must select some more limited set of topics and issues, which concern themselves. It is out of these set of necessities that the effect of agenda set takes place. As opted by Rev. Fr. Uchem (1991:41) that it must be recognized that some powers belong to the media themselves as indecent in them in helping to achieve the process of mass communication.

Another cognitive effect that occurs in a media dependent society is the expansion of people’s system of beliefs. Cooley (1958:5) long age used the term “ENLARGEMENT” To refer to the idea that people’s knowledge and belief system expands because they learn about other people, places and things from the mass media.

The media’s impact on “values” is yet another cognitive effect, relevant to this project. Values may be defined as very basic belief that people hold about their desirable and state of existence (e.g salvation quality freedom) if preferred mode of conduct (e.g honesty, forgiving capable).

According to Melvin and Sandra (1962:24) mass media information can, however play an important part in creating the conditions to value clarification and lone way that television facilitate that clarification is by presenting information that precipitates value conflict within audience members.

On a dependency theory of audience-T.V- society Relation, Melvin and Sandra (1962:17) declared That the ultimate basis of T.V influence lies in the Nature of three- way relationship between the larger Social systems. The televisions role is that system And audience relationship to the television. They Discovered that the nature of the tripartite audience-T.V – society relationship most directly determines many of the effects that television has on people and society.

As part of audience-T.V- society relationship that needs to be discussed to the high level of dependence of audience on mass media (TV) information resources in urban industrial societies, the primary reason for this focus is that the degree of audience- dependence on television information (and other media) is a key variable in understanding when and why media messages, other audience beliefs, feelings and behavior.

There are many ways according to Melvin and Sandra (1962:30) through which people are dependent on mostly television to satisfy information needs. For example one form of dependency is based on the need to understand one’s social world; another type of dependency arises from the need to act meaningfully and effectively in that world.

Television, which is the main focus on this project, according to Salama (1978:6) T.V can influence in several ways. It can be seen as presenting models of behaviour as providing information, which extends far beyond one’s immediate experience, as giving definitions and knowledge in certain and unclear situations, as offering a wide range of role-taking models that would otherwise be available, as suggesting appropriate values and ideas for particular positions, as portraying many aspects of popular culture which other agencies do not transmit as playing a part in television process.

Television equally contributes in informing the people about national policies and of any development in concepts; it create awareness and facilitates the development of appropriate attitude in people. According to Ofor (2006:4) the basic primary aim of the press is to communicate the goings on in the society to the masses. In tandem with this, every item, material and programme of the press not minding whether it is print or electronic medium is aimed at divulging information to the public. Such information should however be true, factual and believable.

Brown, Brown R and Rivers (1958:12) stressed the history of television and how it quickly displaced radio as a result of its ability and obvious advantage over other media of communication. Television became a channel in creating awareness and mobilizing the support of the people.

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Television could by its very appeal command more audience, because it involves not only the same of bound as in radio or sight as in newspaper, but combines both to make a whole some package to the viewers. This is why this particular medium is deemed a very effective instrument in creating awareness and mobilizing public support.

To further highlight the influence of television, Hotseller and More (1982:30) analyzed that considerable attention has be devoted to the hypothesis that the mass media coverage of events even the coverage of political candidates and their campaigns, influence the processes by which major parties select governorship or presidential candidates.

More recently, this research has focused attention on what is seen as the dominant role of television coverage of the presidential election campaigns. One analyst even said, “so much has election, especially television news reshaped the political terrain that the key Lo winning the nomination is merely to be declared winner by the network”.

Abel and Wirth (1984:16) in their study on television declare that it has become clear that television is identified as the major source of news for the majority of American citizens. Besides being the major source, it is also the most believable mass medium. Research conducted by commercial firms such as popper organization inc. and Academic social scientist, plotted the rising dependence on credibility of television news.

In his work on television as news information source, Adams (1981:21) opined that over the pass three decades, national research had chronicled the rise of television and market its emergency as the pre-eminent in home entertainment source.

The developing of supremacy of television over media as a news source has been documented by the Roper organization since its 1963 survey. The growing margin between television and newspaper as evidence on the Roper reports over the years since 1963 has become a convincing indication of comparative decline of the newspaper as a channel for news dissemination and the steady popularity of television medium.

In his work on television, Klapper (1960:40) declared that it is able to provide its audience with sense of participation, personal assessments and reality which approximates face to face contact. Nwosu (2004:166) opted that mobilization and propaganda function is occasional but however, gaining momentum. The power of magical influence of the medium lies in its ability to reach out to a tremendous number of persons, living in complex anonymity but then relating to them simultaneously.

In addition, it gets virtually to the entire population, including certain group such as the old, the very young and the less educated who are not so easily accessible to the other land who may be suggestive.

Television is widely believed to be uniquely effective simply because of its visual quality, television commands complete attention from the audience than the other media. With this explanation, one can see how powerful television is as a medium of communicating and how it can influence people’s action.

Klapper (1960:45) study therefore further elucidate the fact that issues that are political, economical and social in nature should not be regarded as ordinary brand advertising where consumers would with time accept such a product.

Persuasive mass communication is likely to produce conversions early especially where the audience concerned had not developed an attitude.

Inaugurating   the   national   Iranian Television   (NIT)   in 1960, the former shah of Iran spoke of the primary duty of television in the country, integration, simulation of cultural development and widespread popular participation in the affairs of the country. The first ground of the goals mentioned by the former Monarch, was to publicize national development from their social, political land economic point of view and to keep the public information of current events strengthening national unity and fostering culture, art, education and entertainment.

The determination to use broadcasting for the promotion of socialism and development among people of Tanzania is also the explicit goal of broadcasting especially television. ‘The duty of the service is to help and sometimes even to bring about a direct ideological and attitudinal revolution among the millions of Tanzania, many of whom have no other means of knowing the goals and priorities of the party and government.

Equally speaking at the association of broadcasting meeting, the Brazilian minister in charge of communication, Quintet De Oliveira, declared that the ministry expects that the Radio and Television stations would fulfill their legal obligation, and their code of ethics so as to reach the increasing cooperation for the achievement of goals compatible with the efforts of a country to take off from under development to this deserved position in the world picture.

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The highest among the hopes for the broadcasting media in the new nation is that they would contribute to national integration. Integration means a sense of identification with the larger whole that is the nation state, a feeling of being a Nigerian or a Peruvian. In states where legates have rarely extended beyond the village, tribute or region, as in the case with most developing countries, the achievement of such national awareness would be no mean accomplishment for the broadcasting service. Going further to clarify the importance of television broadcasting and in fact the mass media generally to any country especially the developing nations Katz and Wendell (1978:38) argued that it would only be fair to say the mass media have an identifiable share in the modernization of individual attitudes and practice, indicators economic and political modernity such as empathy, the ability to take the role of innovativeness in agriculture and in the home or participation in political affairs can each be shown to be related to mass media exposure.

On the whole, according to Katz and Wendell (1978:50) the media appear to be responsive to development campaigns. They allocate time to educate, agriculture, health home economics and the like.

Schramm (1974:12) declared in his study of the mass media and national development, that the mass media are agents of social change.

The specific kinds of social change are expected to help accomplish the transition to new custom and practice in some cases is differential social relationship.

Behind such changes according to Schramm (1974:15) must necessarily and substantially include changes in attitude, beliefs and social norms as an agents of social change.

Schramm (1974:15) equally declared that because the mass media including television have the ability to report and inform so effectively it would be convincing to say that they perform services to a developing country like ours.

By focusing attention on certain topics, television is able to play a role in directing the people towards issues of national interest like the current drive for sanity and restoration of all social norms in the country, e.g. Waic, Micelle and Lerner (1982:40) in their study on mass media, think that television increase the aspiration of developing people. Television has been used to stimulate people in some sense by raising their levels of aspiration for the good things of the world. Television, which is the main focus of this project topic can confer status, below prestige and enhance the authority of individual and groups by legitimizing their status. Nwosu (2004:112) has this to say “Status conferring is a fall out fusion of the press”. The media could confer importance to events, places and persons by mere publication. Recognition by television and other media of communication that one is important enough to have been singled out from the large anonymous masses that one’s behaviour and opinion are significant enough to require public notice, obviously confirms the power and influence of the media. The claim by the media, television, radio, newspaper and magazines in Nigeria that they master minded, confer status and enhance the authority of the government that through its reports and discussions in different media seemed to be acceptable.

Television has proved so powerful and so effective for the communication of information and education so commercially, attractive, so significant for national prestige that its important around the globe exceeds all predications.

Television is the most powerful of the media because it enables viewers to believe the audience with their own eyes.

The mass media generally is roundly regarded as tools, progressive intension whose improvements dealt upon mankind the alters and life of every individual and institutions. Without communication according to Schramm (1974:4) “The mind does not develop a true human nature but remains in an abnormal and   nondescript state  neither  a human nor properly brutal”.

On the impact of television generally, Schramm (1974″5) emphasized that mass communication helps in correlating our response to the challenge and opportunities, which appear on the horizon and to reach consensus on social actions, mass communication equally helps us to transmit the culture of our society to new members. It equally help in entertaining us via the television.

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In the case communist China, and the way she used communication to mobilize its society to its own model since 1949 for instance, China’s millions have been constantly mobilized for mass actions in a seemingly endless series of mass movements. If the citizens are not mobilized to suppress counter revolutionaries of flush out leftist, they are organized to support government programmes on agriculture and community development and all these are with the aid of the mass media organs- television, radio especially when they realize that mass media must be used for national development. They believe that the mass media must act as an instrument for national communist are obviously serious with issues bordering on revolutionary enthusiasm and political consciousness. To them, how far and how fast they can achieve their current development and preparing condition for the transition to communism, depending on how soon and how well they can awaken sharpen and elevate the political and ideological consciousness of the people. It is through mass movements that the Chinese communist seeks to mobilize and manipulate the energy and enthusiasm of the masses for specific party tasks and simultaneously to energize the population by lightening their consciousness and party tasks through the television.

It is the service of developing the consciousness of the masses that the communists have sought to exploit every potential of the television.

Moluthan (1967:17) believes that the media especially television are so pervasive in their personal cum political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral and social

consequences,   that   they   have   no   part   of  us   untouched, unaffected, unaltered, everyone would seem to feel that the media affects his interest in one way or the another. No doubt is a pointer to the fact that the television generally is very powerful.

On a more specific note, Lippman (1922:12) would rather describe television as an “effortless food of the mind, it makes every thing more dramatic or more immediate than it is. It provides a window of the world”.



A theory is an organized systematic body of knowledge that explains natural phenomenon.

The social responsibility theory which originated from the work of the American-initiated Hutchins commission (headed by Robert M. Hutchins) of 1947 forms the framework for this study.

Dominick (1990) posits that the media or press not only has the right to criticize    the government but it also has a responsibility to preserve democracy by properly informing the public and responding to society’s needs and interest.

Ogunsuji (1989) says also that the power and near monopoly position of the media, impose on them, obligation to respond to society’s requirement.

Television or press have to diligently serve the public or masses by responding to their requirements which includes informing, educating and entertaining them. Anambra Broadcasting Service has to perform, to serve the various publics of the state. Jt should also highlight programmes that encourage development and make sure that there is good relationship between her and its publics. Anambra Broadcasting Service should create a good feedback mechanism between her and its publics.

Underlying the social responsibility theory as relates to mass communication practice, individuals and organizations should think and act in globally accepted manner. This must have caught the attention of Tony Iredia who says that “the mass media are always at the service of the public”.

Television as a Channel for Creating Awareness and Mobilizing Public Support (A Study of Abs Awka)


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