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Media Use Pattern in Rural Communities

Media Use Pattern in Rural Communities

Media are seen as mirror and watchdog in every society. Their qualities and effects are so notable that they cannot be swept under the carpet. Media are indispensable, no individual, group or society can do or carryout their daily activities without the use of media.

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Looking at the urban cities, the political parties cannot carryout their manifesto to the public without the use of the media. Media equally create and opportunity or avenue through which the government reach the rural dwellers.

Media are very vital to the society at large, for people to contribute their quota in the achievement of any thing; they need not just to know about existence of that particular thing, but also to be aware of the things happening, with the help of the media.

Media are classified into two segments, namely the modern media and the traditional media popularly known as oramedia. Coming to the rural communities, the media use pattern in rural communities differs, the media use pattern in one community may not be the same in another community, and this assertion is based on the community’s desire.

            Mbeke Community Profile

Mbeke community is one of the community that make up Ishieke clan. Mbeke community was on its own as a local government during the regime of ex-Governor, Dr. Sam O Egwu, the new governor of Ebonyi State, Elechi created Mbeke community to be under Ebonyi as a local government.  with an estimated population of about 1, 500, grouped into eight autonomous communities, they include Azuogi Mbeke, Obiagwe Mbeke, this is the new sellters, Oma mbeke, this is the middle of Mbeke Azuagu Mbeke, this is the out sketch of Mbeke, Azu-Agu-Igwe Mbeke, Ndu-nwa orie Mbeke, Ofia Ogwu-dechi Mbeke, Ndu-Iyagi Mbeke.

Mbeke community is headed Nwidembia Emmanuel assisted by Ijere Mgbosi. Mbeke community migrated from Ishieke Mgbomeze, it has a common boundary with Benue State. It is characterized by certain streams and valleys.

In terms of education, in those days, Mbeke community was Educationally background, inquest for knowledge the little Elite who knows the importance of Education decided to build Mbeke community secondary school Mbeke in 1983, it was sponsored by the community, they were paying the teachers salaries and looking after the welfare of the students, two years later, the government took over. Mbeke community secondary school has about sixteen teaching staff including the principal, four newly posted coppers and three non teaching staff.

Mbeke community has two health centres, the first one is located at Ishiofu mmiri Ishieke while the second one is located at Mbeke Nwaji, all in the same community.

Electricity is found in two side of the community, Ogbala market and Nworie market.


In some part of Nigeria rural communities has remained at a snails pace, this could occur because of the media use pattern, the government cannot properly disseminate information to the rural dwellers as a result of the media use among the rural dwellers, this is one of the major problem the rural communities are encountering, most of the rural community prefer using traditional media in their various localities which cannot be easily use by the Government in disseminating information, Mbeke community on which the study is focused suffers the same impediment.

Another point is that Mbeke community has no access to modern media such as Television, Radio, Newspaper, magazine, this has been a great problem to the community as a result of inadequate finance, bad roads etc, looking  at  the bad roads, it hinders the magazine and newspaper vendors in distributing magazines to the community, as a result of this, the rural dwellers are less informed about the things happening in the society. Again some of the traditional media use in disseminating information in Mbeke community are ineffective such as town crier, the voice of the town crier is not amplified, the natural voice cannot carry the message across to everyone in the community.

Finally, we cannot talk about effective dissemination of information without taking into consideration the right media to be use in disseminating such information.


The objective of the study helps to discover new facts or get additional knowledge.

Thus the objective of the study is to find out the media use pattern in Mbeke community. And other aims such as under listed.

v  To find out the various media and how the people use them in the course of disseminating information.

v  To find out the most persuasive media in Mbeke community.

  •   To find out the media the people commonly used in disseminating information.
  •   To find out the kind of messages the people receive from the various media.
  •   To find out the people that are responsible in disseminating in Mbeke community.
  •   To find out the appropriate time the people use the media.
  •   To find out the area the traditional media is effective.
  •   To find out the gratifications the people derive in using media (traditional media).


This study is significance in may respect, the study will enable the researcher and Mbeke community to know the importance of media use among the rural dwellers. The study will also go a long way to signify the media ‘that exist in Mbeke community. The study will review the gratifications, benefit the people derive in using the media. the study will also point out the problems associated with each media and the possible solutions the problems.

The study will assist the beneficiary that is Mbeke community, the researcher; media practitioners etc to appreciate the effect of the media use as well as the importance of communication or information from the media even how such information received should be handle.

The findings of this study will as well increase the morals of the people through the information receive and it will also assist and guide the decision of the media practitioners to provide accurate information and the necessary incentives needed by the people to carry on with the activities of the day, hence it would be beneficial to the different rural communities especially Mbeke community which is the focus of the study, the researchers, scholars, media practitioners, and the policy makers such as the government and the traditional rulers.


These are number of questions which the researcher set out to provide answers to through the outcome of the study, each research question is stated in simple and concrete form such that each question will take one case at a time. The research questions are.

  •  Among the media which one is the most persuasive media?
  •  Among the media which one is commonly used by the community in disseminating information?
  •  From which media do the people normally get information from the government?
  •  Who are people responsible in disseminating information in the Community?
  •  What are the gratifications the people derive in using the media?


These are some terms or concepts used in the execution of this project work. It is made up of conceptual definition and operational definition.


Conceptual:  Media are channels through which the people receive information and entertainment.

Operational: Media are channels through which information are being disseminated to the heterogeneous audience.


Conceptual: Modern media are technical device that connect one computer system to another for disseminating information.

 Operational: Media has to do with electronic and print media such as television, Radio, magazine, newspapers.


Conceptual: Customary media of communication eg. Town crier, gong, opi, white chalk.

Operational: Use of town crier, gong, opi, white chalk village square etc. In passing on information.

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Conceptual: It is a regular way of doing things .

Operational: It is a way through which something is being done.


Conceptual: The activity or process of expressing ideas and feelings.

Operational: It is an act of transmitting information, ideas, values, and  attitude from one person to another.


Conceptual:  Unurbanized or undeveloped area.

Operational: Area which is chiefly reside by rural dwellers


 Conceptual: These are indigenous people who reside in the community.

Operational: these are the villagers who make up the community.


The researcher assumes that Mbeke Community make use of traditional media and modern media.

The researcher assumes that Mbeke community is exposed to media.


Some of the respondents find it difficult to disclose some of the information about their community because of their traditional belief.

Again, lack of adequate finance and time on the part  of the researcher in view of distance between the study area and the place of domicile of the researcher.


            It is worthy of note that man right from creation has not lived in isolation of his fellow men. He has always live together in one way or the other. He has always show unalloyed regard for his community and all that go on in and around it. His desire to associate and live with his fellow men in the same area brings about the existence of community.


Community has been defined by various scholars depending on their intellectual background and experience.

According to Anibueze (2006) lecture on Rural community journalism, community is a group of people living together as a small social unit, usually within a larger local unit called society. The members of a community have various interests in common such as work, prayer and governance.

Arnold w. green viewed community as a cluster of people living within a contiguous small area who share a common way of life.

Community could also be define as a group of people living together within a defined geographical boundary. Reviewing various definitions of community Hillery (1955) and willis (1977) discovered that all these definitions have one element in common that is people.

In so far, these people live within the same locality and there is always interaction within them.

However, Community also refers to those with whom were interact with. This definition obviously reveals that people are necessary, that not a sufficient element to define Community. Other element frequently found in these definitions is geographical, in these definitions is geographical area, Community is seen as the physical concentration of individuals in one place or a given territory.

According to Ramsey and Hamer (1960) Community is the centre of activities where people buy things. Community which tries to incorporate the variety of elements is that aggregation of families habitually living together within a geographical location, having a state of mutual interdependence, supporting some basic institutions and having some measure of political autonomy in relation to other communities.

According to Ekong (1988) Community connotes some perspectives in terms of stared interest, characteristics or association as in the expression of “community of interests”. This may be refer to people not necessarily staring defined geographical space in terms of geography, if denotes a given area where people inhabit. A geographical community of people must have a resource base for meaningful economic activities just like a family should have economic activities to solve the family problem. The people also have settlement pattern, for instance Mbeke Community on which the study is focused the settlement patterns is that people are not allowed to live in a land that is not their own. When a child is born, to head of the family gives the child a name, the woman’s duty is to grand while chalk mixed with water and use it to design their faces, through this attribute the people around will know that a new born baby have arrived in the family. A Community also have an institutions that defines values, create status and equally give punishment to people that deserve it.

Coming to Mbeke Community on which the study is focused, the king and the little men are responsible in creating status, making rewards and they are also responsible in giving punishment to the people that attract such punishment.


The considerable theory that can provide good frame work or use as guide for this study media use pattern in rural Community. A study of Mbeke Community in Ebonyi State is used and gratification theory.

All the discussion before now had emphasized what the media do to people, uses and gratification originated to embrace the interactive relationship between the media and the audience, the discussion at this point changes to what people do with the media.

Katz (1974) propounded uses and gratification theory  the principles of uses gratification theory emphasized on the audience media use pattern and the gratification they derive in using the media. The relationship between this theory uses and gratification theory and the topic of the study media use pattern is that Mbeke Community have their  media use pattern in other to derive some gratifications from the media. In this content, the rural dwellers make use of the various media that exist in the community to achieve the set goals as well as benefit to be derived from using the media. According to Herzog (1944) Berelson (1949) and schramm, lyle and paker (1961) have extensively probed the benefits, the gratification the audience seek to derive from being exposed to the media. The cumulative outcome of their finding include.

  •  To gain emotional release
  •  To be informed
  •  To gain social prestige
  •  To be educated
  •  To be entertained.

Looking at Mbeke Community, the gratifications they derive from the Media use pattern is to be properly inform, creating awareness, for entertainment, to be educated above all, for other Communities to recognize their media use pattern.


Various Communication scholars depending on their intellectual background and experience have conceptualized the term media.

Dennis (1981) define media as devices for moving messages across distance or time to accomplish mass communication. Media has also been refer to technical devices through which mass Communication is achieved. Media make communication possible from the source to the infinite number of persons.

In the word of Ucheanya (2003) Media are channels through which people get almost all the relevant information that shape their personality in relation to the society and also shape their perceptions of issues in the society and even adequate information on how to react to such issues. Media are vital instrument use in enlightening the people and awakening their interest for change projects in their Communities.

Media furnish the public with the necessary information to achieve developmental or change goals. Media have the capacity and capability to reach, manipulate sensitize and mobilize people through information dissemination. Media create in the mind of people issues that should be viewed as priority issues including development programmes and policies. Media are central to the existence of any society that is included towards meaningful development, to any level what remains is to properly utilize them in achieving and communication goal in any society.

Media create awareness, interest of the people towards developing the Communities, active, constructive and participatory planning processes involved in originating and executing developmental ideas, when emphasized by the media spur actions on the part of the people in a Community.

Media are channels through which information are being disseminated to the heterogeneous audience. However, there is a general agreement that the “media is understood to refer to the print media, electronic media and traditional media popularly known as oramedia. In this view, according to Akinfeleye (1988:89) “media refer to the print media that is magazines, newspapers, newsletters etc. it also refers to radio, television, cinematographs and film. Akinfelye also defined media as the traditional media used in disseminating information to the rural dwellers in the community such as gong, town crier, market place, church, village square etc. Ugo (1987) view media as the engine of mass communication.

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Mobogunje (1992:24) equally said that media refers to any agency, modern or traditional that operates for the articulation and dissemination ideas and information generally with intent to influence or control an audience or the institutions that constitute legalized power and authority.

Media therefore are seen as various avenues through which the public could be reached at any point in time through a complex mechanical device, whether modern or traditional.


Media are classified into two segment namely the modern media and the traditional media popularly known as oramedia. Under modern media we have  television, radio, Cinematographs magazines, newspapers Books, Journals while town crier, market square, church gong, white chalk, market place, visits are classified under traditional media other wise known as oramedia.


This is one of the modern media that deal with the combination of or both sound and sight. According to sandman et al (1976) and Amafili (1993:18) the most striking characteristic of television is the speed with which it disseminates information. Television messages come in the form of programmes. Among the commonest of television programme are news, current affairs, entertainment and specials.


Radio is another component of modern media that deal with audio. Radio as a medium has the capacity to cut through the barriers of illiteracy and poor infrastructural facilities which could limit the ability of the print media to reach large audience. In addition radio has other peculiarities which make it the true mass medium, in terms of reaching a mass audience in the developing world.

Radio is relatively cheap and can operate without electricity; it is therefore more within the reach of third world populations than television which can also transcend such barriers as illiteracy and infrastructural facilities. Radio is portable and transistor radio sets are widely owned all over the third world, even in remote rural areas.

In Nigeria, research evidence shows that the use of radio as a medium of information is truly widespread, even among rural populations.

In the view of Okunna (1992), Okigbo (1990) Sobowale and Sogbanwu (1984) said that radio has been identified as the best mass medium at the country’s level of development for the education of rural dwellers.

Okigbo (1990:57) brings out some of the advantages of radio. The attraction radio has for rural dwellers are derived from its cheap price and cost of operation.

Again, the (Radio sets are easily portable and can be used by both the education and illiterate. At the state level, some radio stations broadcast more than 80 per cent of their programmes in the vernacular languages.

Globally, the development of radio as a medium began at the down of the twentieth country with the perfection of winless transmission. This had started with the insertion of the wireless telegraph by engliemo Marconi in Italy in 1895; this was a system through which electromagnetic impulses could be used through the air without the use of wire.

Thus, radio is also usually referred to as the wireless. Radio signals can travel either in a straight line or in a zigzag pattern. In frequency modulated (FM) radio signal travel in a straight line because fm radio operate at a higher frequency than(AM) or amplitude modulated radio. It is this higher frequency that allows the signals to travel in a straight line.


According to advanced learner’s dictionary of current English, magazine are paper-covered (usually, weekly or monthly illustrated periodical with stories, articles etc by various writers.

According to one journalism historian, Frank Lulhermoth, he defines magazine as “a bound pamphlet issued more or less regularly and containing of variety of reading matter”. It’s characteristic is that it is permanent in nature, it also has longer cycles in terms of publication. Magazines are indeed store houses of stories, information, entertainment, and pictures. They are an intermediate publication between newspapers and books. Magazine publishes stories and articles on public occurrences.


Newspaper is another modern medium used in disseminating information to the public. Newspapers are famous for bringing to the reader news about recent occurrences in the society. The news stories in the newspaper are usually on copies events that are timely, in addition to other requirements, the news stories and features in the newspaper are usually written in a great hurry by different writers.


A Number of characteristics distinguish magazines from newspapers and they are.

Magazines are more durable than newspapers as a result of how is being produce and package. Cycles for publication. The minimum frequency of publication of the magazine is one week. Some are published fortnightly, monthly or annually while newspapers are published daily in the main and rarely fortnightly or monthly.

Magazines are produced at less a hurry than newspapers. They have more time in days or weeks to research into their topic and to interpret the news while journalists working in a newspaper have hours, and rarely few days together the facts and write the news. Thus, while magazine stories and articles contain detailed accounts and in depth features offer relatively superficial accounts and analysis.


According to Nwosu (1966:6) Traditional media are cultural bound or culture centric and emphasize it’s importance as an area which media practitioners and marketing communications who operate within the developing parts of the world must familiarize themselves with.

Traditional media enjoy intrinsic merit in this discourse because of it’s uniqueness in nature and process which various interestingly on account of geographical and cultural factors. Traditional media tap the rudiments of culture in exchanging and disseminating information through which it engages pure and undiluted traditional process.

Wilson (1987:89) and Nwosu (1996:6) define traditional media as a continuous and persistent process of information dissemination, entertainment, and education (and even advertising) used in societies which have not been seriously dislocated by western culture or any other external influence.”

It could be viewed that traditional media is still crude in societies not yet fettered by western culture.  Traditional media can also be seen as a society whose culture is dislocated by infusion of another, culture upon it have both negative and positive impacts either way leaves behind a social favour for communication.

Traditional media are those means of communication that are peculiar to typical African societies. They are refers to those modes of communication still used also in Urban areas.

Traditional media is the products of the interplay between a traditional community’s customs and conflicts, harmony and strife, cultural convergences and divergences, culture specific tangibles, interpersonal relations, symbols, codes and moral traditions which include mythology oral literature etc. Traditional media is simple an expression of one’s feeling that is backed by his culture.

Des Wilson (1987) sees traditional media system as an on-going, long standing and modernized practice and as one system which has defined all efforts by western media to cannibalize and supplant. Even where modern media have penetrated isolated areas as is gradually becoming the case today.

Mac bride et al (1980) observe that other forms of communication maintain their validity particularly when used to influence attitudes, instigate action and promote change.

Traditional media make it possible for messages to be packaged and transferred in locally popular artistic forms. This can be rivaled by any other means of communication with regard to reacting the rural ties. For instance song, drama, dance group are use to promote campaigns against social evils such as child and woman trafficking, alcoholism, burdensome dowries, discrimination against women, archaic etc.

Traditional media are classified into two segment namely verbal traditional media and non-verbal traditional media.

Verbal traditional media are market place, town crier, visit, church village square, while Non-verbal traditional media are folk theatre traveling story letters, poets, talking drums, flute, traditional dances, mental or wooden gong (Ekwe and Ikoro) Opi (horns) Oja (elephant horn, omu, white chalk, (Nzu) Red materials, Cowries, Palmfronds, masquerades, Extra-mun dance modes, ogene, etc.

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Ekwelie and Okonkwo (1983) observe that these media have serviced from the earliest of times and made on adjusted transition into the electronic age.

Traditional media have also under-gone changes but still retaining their mode and significance for instance village squares have in some cases been replaced by town halls streams are assuming less significance as information sharing contress in the face of pipe-borne water, supermarkets and convenience stores in some cases play the role of the market square..


Every community has their media use pattern, but in this context this study focuses on Mbeke Community and their media use pattern.

In Mbeke Community, their media come in two forms namely modern media and traditional media popularly known as oramedia. In Mbeke Community greater number of people have only radio while minority of people have  television. Coming to their local media they make use of verbal and non-verbal means of Communication.



The town crier can be interchangeable called the village announcer or the village gong-man. In Mbeke Community, the town crier in disseminating his message in the village stops at the most strategic places strikes his wooden or mental gong three or more to draw attention to himself, then makes his announcement as directed. According to a well known man in Mbeke Community Mr. Nwite  in an interview with the researcher said that the effectiveness of the village gong man is mostly realized when he make his announcements early in the morning or late in the night because some quietness is recorded at these periods.

In the view of Ugbajah (1977) a village gong man “typifies” the mode communicator who possesses both empathy and cultural under-taking of his audience. One of the good aspects of the town crier is that the audience can stop and ask him question on his message, an opportunity that the modern media cannot immediately provide. The problem associated with this mode of communication is that the voce of the town crier is not amplified in the sense that the natural voice cannot carry the message across to everyone in the community, despite this handicap, town crier remains one of the major verbal means of communication in Mbeke Community.


            The village square in Mbeke Community is called Okiwere- Agbede. It is a venue for village meetings and a centre for activity daring festivals. The people converge at the village square for crucial meetings that concern the village. Information and announcements are disseminated during such occasions. Robbery Incident are being made known to the Community at the village square the village square serves as a relaxation spot where big umbrella tress provide shade for people who sit on logs of wood neatly arranged for the purpose.


The market place is very important in the lives of Mbeke Community. It is a place where people from different parts of the Community converge for the purpose of buying and selling. The market place is used effectively to disseminate information to the entire Community.

Ugboajah (1977) notes that the market place can have all the impact of a medium, in the sense that it can offer the place and time utility for integrative communication.


There is no social function the African practice more than paying visit. In Mbeke Community during visit, conversation takes place over kolanut or a keg of palm wine. During this conversation information is stared between participants, information is dearly disseminated during visit.


Church in Mbeke Community also serve as information staring centres. The officiating priest or pastor passes information during the sermon or even after the church sermon or service.



In Mbeke Community, Ikoro is situated in a place called Edugwu, it is used to summon people for emergency, according to Samuel a native of Mbeke Community while interviewed said that when a prominent man died in the Community, it is use to inform people in the community.  Ikoro is a big tree trunk hollowed out and slit open in one small area which gives a “dum” “dum” sound when struck with a stick. It is also used on occasion such as festivals funerals. This instrument is sacred and is not owned individually or beaten for frivolous reasons.


            In Mbeke Community white chalk are used by the native doctors during rituals, when the white chalk are rubbed across the left eye, it conveys information to all that these men are oracles of great powers. It is also used to welcome a new born baby. While the red chalk are used by the nursing mother, they use it to design their baby people seeing them will know that they gave birth newly.


It is used by town crier to disseminate information to the Community. Ogene is also used by the chief priest to welcome the presence of the gods or the ancestors especially during the time of scarifies. It is also used by different dancing groups.


It is used by the age grade, if they are going for war. It is used to show forbidding thing. In a plot of land where omu is being spread, it means that the place is out of bound. The old men in the community put Omu in their mouth during Opkoko festival, if they don’t want to talk to people. The people celebrate opkoko festival during the mouth of March; it is a spirit in the rival. Some also use Omu to tie their waist during the festival. Omu is used to indicate vehicle carrying corpse to the Community.


The bigger type of Opi is the elephant horn, Mbeke Community use it for the celebration of the titled men. While the small opi antelope horn are use to summon the youth, encourage them during communal labour and praise brave deeds during ceremonies. It conveys an emotional message, the small opi is also use for taking snuff.


This is the highest form of gun shooting used to convey to the community that a burial ceremony is taking place at the Vicinity of the gun shooting, the shooting is usually sporadic with several hit at the intervals.


Pattern of media use in Mbeke community has been critically reviewed as well as their positive impact. There is no doubt that media has been identified as channels for disseminating, even the less educated once in rural Communities use media(traditional media) to achieve the same goals, just as the Urban dwellers use modern media. Individual relating and interacting together brought about dwellers reside.

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This article was extracted from a Project Research Work/Material Topic “MEDIA USE PATTERN IN RURAL COMMUNITIES (A STUDY OF MBEKE COMMUNITY IN EBONYI STATE)”

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