Political Mobilization – The Mass Media as an Instrument

Political Mobilization – The Mass Media as an Instrument

Political Mobilization  – The role of the  mass media in polity was highlighted S.P Eze’ (1988) while  presenting his article “mass media and social political Transformation’’ He notes that the politics  of any nation depends very much on the  mass media as a platform  of articulating marking of ideas and issues on national problems to  the people.

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The assertion is consolidated on the fact that whether we like it or not the mass media have become a vehicle of politics on which any political system generally depends.

He further assets that “The mass media exist for the protections propagation perpetuation or pursuit of the interest of the people and the stability development progress and prosperity of the country.

Again General Olusegun Obasanjo (1992 on “The Elements of Democracy state that the mass media exist in building and monitoring environment conducive to democracy in any country, capable to promote a free choice of leadership, especially through the ballot box, respect for the rule of laws by both the ruler and the ruled social justice as well as respect for human rights. In carrying out the role the mass media must not merely marrow the society by passively reporting events they must act as the watchdog of the citizenry and instigator of a positive change.

He emphasized further that:

“To effectively performs its roles the mass must be independent this does not mean absence of government  involvement but rather the media should be given a free hand to perform within the ethics of their profession even when they are owned by private individuals’’.

Writing on the role of the mass media in the third republic  Justice Agwuwa pleaded “Television  broadcast should not only contribute to the development  of National  Unity and stand to the  continued  expression of Nigeria Unity  and  density but should also act in promoting national consciousness with a view of  safeguarding enriching the unity of the nation and  free and democratic society.

John planets (1975) on “Democracy and illusion” noted that even in industrial  and literate society which is authoritative in nature the mass media are used to get the people to act as  possible to think as it suit the society and the rulers.

Ifeanyi Aluba  (1988) agrees no  less when he commented on “press freedom and Democracy”.  He said the press represents the salient mechanism of vital element in the overall democratic process……. Without the press and other communication channel the government would be telling to itself.

This  mass media have an enormous duties to the society and in his book mass communication and  National Development  Nwosu (1996) foresees the need to simplify the language used in airing political programmers as he rightly observed most of the  messages passed down to the elite and the literate Nigeria.

Also in a prologue to the book “the Anderson papers Jack Anderson (1978) a veteran America Journalist: writes: – The men of the press seldom remind their leaders of power.  Many too, who write about government have been seduced by those who govern. The press like the powerful often forgets its obligations to the people.

Anderson believers that the press is no doubt a viable instrument for the dissemination of information and the mobilization of the literate populaces.

Mr James Audu (1979) submitted that the high degree of illiteracy of the greater percentage of the masses had to the political; apathy and crisis in this country.

Also Chief Anthony Enahoro (1980) maintained that the mass ignorance of the people have been sustained by the inarticulateness of the Nigeria press and mass media.

However, it has seen external influence from imported television programmes create the problem of fostering indigenous political cultural particularly in developing countries such as Nigeria where television takes a high percentage of the cultural and entertainment content.  This was later supported by Herbert schemers while writing  an article on  the “News media and African” he stated – I did a study in Nigeria  a couple of years ago, during which I watched television  programmes.  Do you know that most of the prime hour of programming times on Nigeria television was made up of filmed television shows from the united state many of them of   soap opera variety the Nigeria apparently watched them because there was nothing else to watch?  But all are sheer waste of programmed period.  In a country faced with grave cultural and linguistic problems as we see today, it is  just atrocious that this medium with a potential of a television is utilized this way.

Furthermore Nwosu (1996) on a “primitivism and Journalistic credibility”. Said to most media outside and even inside therefore, media in Nigeria  these days are nothing but lies, naked propaganda half truth sensationalism blackmail and even worse and finally Tale Omole while delivering a paper crisis the press because so leached provable and partisan that the average reader saw them to what they were.

A  parochial outpost of their founder and controllers’ All these studies analysed above are views represented by various interest and writers one see that while there studies explained the role   of mass media and problems associated with them they have failed to expose the reason for their  inability to mobilizes the people in polity and that is where this research becomes relevant.

However the studies above are adduced relevant to this work and act as guide to this research for a suitable advancement on the solution to this topic problem.

Theoretical Review

            In all intent and purposes communication theory is very relevant to this topic hence my choice for the purpose of thorough  analysis, I have decided to use specifically the ‘’Bullet Theory” of  mass communication.  The Bullet theory also known as the  Hypodermic needle theory or the mechanistic S. R. theory was propounded by (F. Defiler 1970) and was view attributed to the power of the mass media effect.

Deflure (1968)in  his attempt to understand the effect or the mass media communication message compared the message with a bullet released at a number of audience like a bullet the  message would be  received by the individuals directly and it would have an immediate effect on him/her persuading him her to behave exactly the way media message advocate.  This is the view of mass communication underlying the bullet theory of the mass communication effect.

This theory is also called the hypodermic needle theory  because it is believe that the media message acted like the content of a hypodermic syringe when  emptied into the audience member would have an instant effect the drug from the real  syringe

Also the direct influence of the mass media according to Defluer is based on the source- message – receive – effect (SMRE) model of mass communication. The basic assumption  underlying this model is that people receive information directly from the mass media AND REACT individually and sometimes collectively to such information.  This information (messages). From the mass media (source) would have a direct impact (effect) on the individual (receiver)

The bullet theory was view that influenced the apparent power of the  media propaganda  during the world war 1.To  reinforce on this bullet theory, John Lilly an  expert on interpersonal communication wrote recently we all have been educated on the fantastic  power of the media in changing public opinion” (Lilly and Lilly 1976).

From the above bullet theory of analysis the mass media have the power of changing voters attitude decisions and behaviors in the political system.  Hence  political mobilization from the point of view of  this bullet theory is the preference dictate and the agenda set by the mass media.  The message are  dropped by the media like a syringe which affect the listener instantly and direct him to act in accordance to the message.

Berelso (1948) says same kind of communication some kind of  issues brought  to the affection of people under some kind of condition have some kind of effect.

I have the pre-occupation that the mass media is of great effect on the society.  This is because the media has the special power to affect the way people think, feel or behave.  The mass media have been credited with incredible persuasive ability to mobilize the people by changing  their attitude and behavour in polity.

So political mobilization in form of campaign symposia news and news commentaries and even propaganda by the mass media leads to political  awareness and democratic consciousness.  I will at this juncture conclude this discussion on the Bullet Theory of  mass communication using the words of peter sandman (1976).

The persuasive power of the mass media is neither as great as the alarmists warn us or as little as the optimist assured us.

The media are rarely able to convert the audience to an opposing viewpoint overnight.  But they can reinforce old attitude which create brand new ones and at times even achieve a total change.  Readers and viewers are active participants in this process using the media for their own purpose and need.  The media protect us from specific influence and create the reality of the society which we live and respond.

Summary of Literature Review

studies reviewed under the literature shows that in carrying out the role of mass as an instrument of political mobilization it must not merely micro the society by passively reporting events they act as the watchdog  of   the citizenry and  investigator of a positive change.

The studies also point out that it is thus an important assumption of the work that a systematic study of political mobilization by the mass media should include an examination into the nature of operation of an important mass media of communication in Enugu state that is Enugu state Broadcasting  services (ESBS)

—————-not complete———–not complete————–—-

 This article was extracted from a Project Research Work Topic “THE MASS MEDIA AS AN INSTRUMENT OF POLITICAL MOBILIZATION”

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Political Mobilization – The Mass Media as an Instrument

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