The Impact of Western Television Programmes on the Cultural Values of the Nigerian Youths
Why are we what we are? Third world!
There are two broad competing paradigms or models of theoretical understanding that seek to explain why some countries are poor and other are wealthy, why some are “first world” and others” Third world”. These broad competiting paradigms are theory of “modernization” and the theory of “imperialism”. Each paradigms has its own “clue concepts” or key explanatory categories” (Hagen 1962).
For modernist theorists the determinant of the social economic situation of any country is the concept of “modern” and its permutation and big categories such as “institutional differentiation” “development” “development”, “nation building”, “economic growth” “advanced industrial societies”, “Westernized” , “backward”, “primitive”, “tribalized” and many more.
On the other hand, those who employ the theory of imperialism have as their concepts such terms as “dependence”, “colonialism”, “liberation”, “Exploitation”, “late capitalist societies” or “societies in the stage of monopoly capitalism”.
The backbone of the theory of modernization has been derived from a convergence of sources in the social sciences in the western societies over a long period of time.
What modernization theorists most often end up with is ethnocentric piratical recipes which admonish the poor societies to imitate them all the way and they would acquire a sudden leap into the 21st century. In order words, join the Calvinistic cruet and you will experience a sudden leap into modernity.
The theory of imperialism on the other hand derives its concepts from Marxist sources. In a nut shell, the wealth and poverty of nations result from the global process of exploitation. This is the situation that Andre Gunder Frank (1969) refers to as the “the development of under development”.
The problem of the poor countries with particular reference to Nigeria is not the lack of technological know how, cultural traits conducive for development, or modern institutions, as is touted by modernists theorists, but that they have been subjected to the exploitation of the international capitalist system and its special imperialist agents, both domestic and alien.
The fundamental conceptual instrumentarium of the critique of imperialism is provided in lenin’s theory of imperialism.
“Imperialism: the highest stage of “capitalism” (1916). The basic pronouncement in the book seems to be that the evils associated with foreign capitalist penetration of the poor countries are the necessary concomitants of capitalism in its present stage.
Nevertheless modernization theorists have also continued to argue that the present influence of the west is not the result of their exploitation of the third world countries. They state that this particular argument gives the poor societies” a moral legitimacy” to demand aid or trade concessions. Sort of “reparation” from their alleged exploiters. However the agree that rich countries depend on poor ones for certain raw materials but that this dependency is declining, and that a great decline in this dependence is expected in view of technology innovations and search for alternative resources nearer home.
Whatever may be the case the fact remains that the fattest profits for developed countries come from their overseas investments. Offiong (1980) argues that it would be wrong to say that the industrialized nations will decrease their dependence on raw materials on the third world nations.
“They will continue to maintain a global policy designed to protect the sources of their crucial raw materials and markets for their finished products”.
MAINTAINING THE EDGE
It is true that bourgeoisies social scientists in the west (The united states being the headquarters) and even in third world countries have gone out of their way to discredit the Marxist-Leninist theory, social scientists in the west must have undertaken the actions as a sort of strategy. But for those in third world only ignorance could answer for their action.
Indeed the Euro African connection from it’s inception, some five centuries ago to the independence decade (1960s), visited Africa with the holocaust of slaving, the trauma of invasion and conquest the humiliations and complexes of occupation, and with a systematic and continuing impoverishment:
In the 1960’s and 1970’s, it became apparent that the west European Expansionism was retreating. The question then, according to Chinweizu (1978) was “were the Europeans retreating forever or were they retreating to regroup for another assault upon the rest of us”. From the situation in the current dispensation, it is clear that the answer to Chinweizu’s question is that the west Europeans were retreating to regroup for another assault against us. The difference is that today the united states of America (who came out of the second world victorious) is the leader of the regroup. Again the assault is now more subtle but less no powerful than physical assault.
The genesis began with the acceptance and adopted of the modernists solution to underdevelopment. One of such theories which relate to this subtle method of assault-international communication is given by Lerner (1956). In his concept of “empathy”, Lerner states that the inhabitants of third world nations must learn to empathize with the west for modern transformation of their societies to be possible.
Schramm (1964) on the other hand developed an interesting model in which he equates the level of social development to various nations. Access to these modern mass media (Radio, Television, Films, Telephone and newspapers) is also linked to individual modernity.
Nigeria and other third world countries have reacted to these findings by inventing a substantial amount of their foreign exchange earnings to import radio and Television transmitters and sets. Thus setting the stage for imperialism.
Thomas L. MC phial (1981) described this new form of imperialism through the media as “Electronic imperialism”. He stresses that over the years, there have been but a few major trends in empire building. The first era which occurred during the Greece-Foman period was characterized by military conquests. The second era which was during the middle age involved mutant Christianity. The third era which lasted between the 17th and middle of 20th century was essentially mercantile colonialism fueled by industrial revolution and a desire to both import raw materials and find export markets for the finished products.
World war I and II not only stopped major military expansion movement but also placed the industries of the west in command of vial trade routes and practices.
By the middle of the 20th century there began a shift to a service based economy in the west which relies substantially on telecommunication systems, which traditionally geographical borders and barriers to international communications are being rendered obsolete.
The post industrial society with information related services being the corner stone, has significant implication for industrial nations alike. Military and mercantile colonialism of the past may be replaced by “Electric colonialism” in the future. It might become possible that a nation state may now be able to move from the stone Age to the information Age, without having passed through the interring steps of industrialization.
From MC Phial’s explanation many countries including Nigeria could be said to be on the with electronics. This trend is indicated by the dependency relationship between third world counties as Nigeria and the industrialization countries as Japan and America. Third world countries depends on industrialization ones for communication hardware, produced soft wares, and related information protocols, that vicariously establish a set of foreign norms, values, and expectations which in varying degrees, may alter the domestic cultures and socialization processes. Essentially, Electronic colonialism of the 18th and 19th centuries.
The above reality has resulted in upsurges of nationalism in many third world countries. The nationalists show parallel concern for political, economic as well as cultural control over their own destinies. This concerns have over the years been typified with terms as “Non Aligment” “New international Economic order”, and New world information order” respectively for political, economic and cultural issues.
It is with the cultural issues that students of journalism and telecommunication find theoretical and research interesting for instance, two of the largest issues international concern that link the third and west, and frequently on opposing sides, are the performance of the major wire services, (Associate press AP, Reuters, Agence France press Afp, united press international UPI). The major television broadcast syndicates (Visnews and UPIIN) and direct broadcast satellites (DBS).
These big time players in the milieu of international communications are firmly owned and controlled by western Europe and U.S to serve their interest. It has been sufficiently documented that western News media especially the American News media have been consistently found.
(Schiller 1976) to portray Africans as dangerous, unstable, non present, non active, unproductive and therefore always in need of help. Little wonder why a little European boy, when he saw an elegantly dressed African gentlemen in the international City of Geneva, said to his mother “mummy he’s hungry him some money”. This shows the power if the media to shape perceptions especially when there are no alternative sources of information.
Likewise individuals and groups in Africa are exposed to the media of the west. If news about Africa in the Western news media is all about confusion, backwardness, then Africans will logically have negative perceptions about themselves and their African neighbors. Such a situation is what structure list call a disguised form of cultural imperialism. In this type of set up, where the developed nations dominate the flow of news or mediate the flow of news to and fro, to and among the developing nations, there is created a state of dependency, a desire and ability to develop and think more like the developed nations.
TELEVISION IN NIGERIA
“It is simply impossible to exaggerate the impact of television on our lives and the lives of our children. It is often said but nonetheless worthy of repetition that television has altered our consciousness, our manner of relating to other people and world, our decisions about the expenditure of our wealth and the use if our leisure reordered our lives that we do not yet recognize the change”. Television, that which has occupied the central position in the issue of international communication especially intercultural and cross cultural communication issues, came into being in 1884 with the perception of the scanning disk by Paul Nikpow. The scanning disk was a forerunner of modern Television.
In 1923 Vlodimir Zworkin, a Russian resident America invested the picture tube-conoscope which he later perfected in 1929 by developing the catholery tube –Kinescope. Television broadcasting began first in Britain in 1936, and followed by United states of America in 1939.
Television and Television broadcasting in Nigeria developed along regional lines. In 1959, the Western Nigerian Television INNTV was established by the western region government. The Eastern Nigerian government followed suit in 1960 with the establishment of Eastern Nigeria Television (ENTV) Enugu and so it continued.
As at 1997, there were two privately owned satellite television stations in Nigeria. African independent television AIT Lagos and many broadcast international MBI one partial satellite television transmission station (NTA Network); 42 cable television stations, II private radio stations, 23 state television stations, 28 NTA stations; and nine private television stations. Television is now obviously the most important medium for entertainment in most parts of the world. It most obviously involves the content of the screen –programs, actions, people and places.
Many social scientists agree that all of the interesting effects of television can be traced to the images on the screen. The exclusive cause of changes in perceptions, judgments, evaluations, emotions and even bodily functions is thought to be information in two-dimensional florescent light that appears within the boundaries of the tube.
The government of the federal republic of Nigeria understands the ability of television to affect peoples ways if life that it set out in the cultural policy documents to keep Nigerian television Nigerian.
Processing the roles which television should play and policy states that Television should be used to project Nigeria arts and culture and value system.
b. At least 70% of television programmes should be produced locally.
c. The programme content of television should be made relevant to Nigerian realities history and achievements. The extent to which these aims can be achieved is limited by very many factors bordering on globalization of information and privatization and commercialization of the broadcast industry.
With the introduction of Direct Broadcast satellite (DBS), the government owned stations had easy access to foreign produced programmes coming mainly foreign from Europe and America.
Also by commercialization and privatizing the industry, it became difficult for government owned television stations to continue to carry out their social obligations with out government funding. The private television provided very stiff completion and were attracting more advertising revenue than government owned media houses.
It is an effort to attract advert revenue which is ensured by packaging programmes that will attract a lot if viewers that the major government television stations NTA broadcasts foreign programmes such as soap operas, music videos, cartoons movies etc.
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The last ten years have witnessed the privatization and commercialization of the broadcast medium. It has witnessed the most pervasive period of foreign television programmes and films into Nigeria. The foreign television programmes states and western Europe and even when they are not from these places as the cases with soap operas from Mexico, they are only local variations of international capitalism.
American made programmes particularly are seen in practically every country where television exists. It is believed to exert influential power in various countries. There is no question that one of the more remarkable phenomena of the 21st century is the widespread diffusion and accompanying popularity of American films and television entertainment programmes throughout the world Guback (1969), Lee (1980); Tunshall (1977); Wells (1972).
It is my belief in line with that if most local critics of American television industry (Hamelink 1983; Schiller 1989, 1976; Mattelert 1970) that the United states and western Europe hold sway over the economics as well as the cultures of third would countries.
In Nigeria as exemplified by trends in Enugu metropolis and use where, western exports of television entertainment are shown in NTA Enugu, ESBSTV, minaj systems, channels, MGM, Cartoon Network, CNN international, TNT classical movies, ESPN – Expanded sports programme Network) channels provided by various satellite transmission operators as DSTV, Multi choice, music television, Euro sports etc.
I am aware that the inclusion of NTA Enugu and ESBS in course of foreign television programmes might raise eyebrows. There inclusion is due to the fact that most of their programmes which have been documented to be viewed most by youths, expose youths to foreign cultures. Such programmes include soap operas, movies and youths programmes as “our generation” and defunct youth perspectives.
“Our Generation “ is shown on NTA Enugu while “Youth perspectives” is shown on ESBS. The two programmes are presented by youth and are regrettably replete with music video of western origin dominated by rap stars as Tupac shakur (late) Beyonce Ashanti, 50 – cent, Sean Paul, Kell Rowland big, Queen Latita, Eeline Dion etc.
it is my belle that western television especially American television exports is conscious/strategic “weapons” aimed at subduing the cultural values of less developed countries.
There could be no more explicit admission of this strategic communication they one made byu sig Mickelson, president Radio free Europ/Radio liberty in Jan 21, 1977, about the move by the soviet union and third world countries for balanced flow of introduction in defence of indigenous interests and culture against the dominance of the west. Mictleson states that success of this campaign would have effect of moving the philosophy and practices of the third world societies further away from those of the western world, alienating and isolating our own philosophy and practices.
STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEMS
The average Nigerian youth, it is observed is always eager to be associated with the developed nations the Europe and north America. He sees the western countries as a model. He “thinks” western while earnestly hoping that one day he will be in the white works.
Many Nigerian youths tend to imitate western cultures especially American cultures. Nigerian youths either talk” or dress American. The Nigeria youth appears to see everything America western in a positive light at the expense of local cultures, norms and values.
Nigeria university student have low me a set of brain washed youths who think more of the transient and canal ideals of western cultures, rather than their own. This has led top increase in the rate of violence, rape, gangsterism, weird dressing, juveniles delinquency, drug addition, excessive desire for foreign products, sexual perversion unpatriotic, burning desire to migrate to the U.S and western European countries etc. All of which have tremendous negative effect on our bid for national development.
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
1. To isolate western television and examine its pervasive impact on the cultural values of Nigerian University Students
2. To show how the contents of western TV. Programmes effects Nigerian university students.
3. To show if their perspection of the west affects their attitude towards western TV. Programmes.
4. To show the relationship between exposure and the desire to migrate to the U.S and Western Europe.
5. To show the implications of the western TV culture on Nigeria as a state.
6. To make recommendations based on the findings of this research.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It has been observed and stated severally that moral bankruptcy among Nigerian youth especially university students is growing in leaps and bounds. Local cultures, values, tradition, norms and mores are sacrificed at the alter of modernity. Excessive positive perception of the western world by Nigerian youths may translate to umpatriotism for their own country.
This study is an offshoot of the concern for the possible dilution, domination and finally absorption of the African/Nigerian culture which until the present has been characterized with good neighbourliness, respect for elders, virtuousness, group or community orientation and collectivism.
The Nigerian youths perception of western especially, American behavioural norms and values as better than their own, is a key element in preparing them for acculturation leading to low Nigeria self-image, high projected self image and a flaring desire to migrate to the west especially to the united states of America.
It will not be unusual in a visit of any university in Nigeria to find individuals imitating behavioural modes of dress, attitudes, and mannerisms of the personalities they admire including fictional characters with whom they identify on TV. Idolized and imitated international, are modes of dressing, and often personal idiosyncratic behaviours of popular stars as notorious Big (Late), 50 Cent, Sean Paul, Michael Jackson, late Tupec-Shakur, Ashanti, Kelli, Rowland, Celine Dion, and such characters as Van Damm, Schwarzenegger, Silverster Stallon, Leonardo Decaprio, Jennifer Lopez, Chuck Noris etc.
It has been observed and disturbingly that Nigerian University students in increasingly greater numbers, adopt and imitate behaviours aid life styles portrayed by dominant cultures of countries outside their own to the influence of which they have become exposed.
Such a situation is not healthy for a developing country as Nigeria especially now that genuine attempts are being made at putting in place a credible democratic process. The conduct of this research at this time will enable the government to know what role the media can play in the development of any country and therefore enable them harness the mass media especially TV to help in the democratic process, and the development process in general.
The research is also particularly timely because as a result of technological developments process and economic pressures, international programmes movements especially from U.S and western European countries are likely to increase. The result of this research will enable the government and other policy makers to put adequate measures in place to check the movements and its effects.
Most research on emigration in economic and demography has concentrated not on the role of information but on economic and political conditions. From the result of this research, the government will understand if a fine-turning of international broadcast industry could help tackle the issue of brain drain.
- Do Nigerian youths expose themselves more to TV than other media?
- Do they prefer western TV programmes to locally produced ones and why if yes?
- does exposure to foreign TV programmes affect Nigerian youths attitude to the western nations?
- In what ways do these attitudes manifest in the behaviours of Nigerian youths.
- Do Nigerian youths identify more with local or foreign TV. Stars ?
- Will improvement of local TV./movies industries improve Nigerian youths preference for local TV. Products
Hi: More exposure to TV will lead to identification of western TV. Stars as models.
Ho: More exposure to TV will not lead to identification of western TV stars as models.
H2: Imitation of the behaviours of TV stars will tend to be high among those who identify with western TV. Stars than those who identify with Nigerian/African TV. Stars.
Ho: Imitation of the behaviours of TV stars will not tend to be higher among those who identify with western TV stars than those who identify with Nigerian/African TV stars.
H3: students who prefer watching western TV will tend to approve of girls initiating love relationship with men more than those who do not.
Ho: Students who prefer watching western TV will not tend to approve of girls initiating love relationship with men more than those who do not.
H4: Those who depend more on TV for international and entrainment will tend to chose to emigrate to western countries more than those who depend more on other media.
H0: those who depend more on TV. For information and entertainment will not tend to close to migrate to western countries more than those who depend more on other media.
CONCEPTIONAL AND OPERATIONAL DEFINITION
Conceptual: youth conceptually defined, means young men and women.
Operational: For the purpose of this study youth is defined as students in various universities in Nigeria and who fall between the ages of 16 – d 30.
Conceptual: This include all instrument of communication such as telephones, radio, TV, newspapers etc.
Operational: Media is operationalized in this study to refer to TV. Broadcast which are available to viewers in Nigeria.
iii. Cultural Identity
Conceptual: Cultural identity of any person is the self definition, self perception and self-image of that person as a member of a group exhibiting uniform culture that are consistent with the values of that group.
Operational: Cultural identity is operationally defined as those commonly shares socio-political interpretations and meanings related to the beliefs, norms, values, attitudes and behaviours within Nigerian.
iv. Cultural dominance:
Conceptual: This refers to nations of neocolonialism based on a policy and practice that have the effect of dominating the culture and affairs of less developed countries.
Operational – Cultural dominance in this study means the conscious and unconscious domination by western TV. media and media systems of Nigeria.
1. That a greater number of Nigeria university students watch TV.
2. That western TV. Programmes have a greater appeal to Nigerian university students than do locally produces programmes.
3. That the programmes contents of western TV. projects symbolic forms of social reality which are consistent with a common perception that western culture, as portrayed on TV is superior to Nigerian culture.
4. That the foreign programmes also projects a common perception that success, in whatever sense, is generated by, represented by is consistent with the symbolic behaviour played out in western TV. Programmes.
5. The western TV. Programmes portray symbolic behaviours that are alien to the national culture values of the Nigerian perple.
6. The western TV. Is having a great acculturation impact on Nigerian university students in particular and on Nigeria youths in general.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Media imperialism is served by the TV Industry. TV has enabled developed capitalist nations as America to “no longer grabs territory or rarely, but grabs consciousness, ways of thinking, ways of living” says Jacques Long, the French minister of culture in 1982 (Diome 1982).
Western TV> has more than permeated the cultural consciousness of Nigerian youths. This study therefore examines the data in the light of both connotive and denotive meaning of media imperialism.
However due to the limitations of time and financial resources, I had to delimit the sample to university students in ESUT Enugu. Had it been that time and resources were available similar studies would have been done in other selected schools in the country so as to ensure a more embracing result.
However, this task faces further researches on this topic. Also further studies should make provision for control sample to be selected from a typical rural areas where the use of the medium of television does not exist.
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
2.1 SOURCES OF LITERATURE
Literatures reviewed in this study were mainly gathered from centre for communications research Enugu, the department for international development British High Commission Enugu Library
Enugu and Enugu state university of science and Technology library Enugu and a number of newspaper house offices in Enugu.
The actual literature reviewed were books, newspapers and journals of mass communication and the social science as psychology and sociology, others include professional publications both published and unpublished, seminar works, projects, public lectures, thesis and dissertations.
The review also involves around the findings and opinions of professionals and policy makes the world over, on the issue of “Media imperialism”. Existing theories formulated by eminent social scientists and communication scholars as Lippman, MC Phail, Klapper, Gabner, MC Quail, MC Luhan and so many others are reviewed to provide the bases for this study.
MASS MEDIA EFFECTS
Lasswell a foremost communication scholar ascribes tremendous power of the media by crediting it with the function of surveillance of the environment, correlation if parts of social heritage from one generation to another.
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This article was extracted from a Project Research Work/Material Topic
“THE IMPACT OF WESTERN TELEVISION PROGRAMMES ON THE CULTURAL VALUES OF THE NIGERIAN YOUTHS: A CASE STUDY OF ESUT STUDENTS, ENUGU”
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