1.1 Background to the Study
The political culture and structure of Nigeria elections have been embedded with violence. The mass media over the years have embarked on educating, informing, and enlightening both the electorate and political parties concerning the necessity of curbing any act of violence, before, during and after elections, through its various political programmes both on broadcast and print across the country.
According to the report by the Human Rights Watch (April and May 2007-20011, p.12) virtually all elections held in the past since independence till the last general elections in 2011 have been approached by politicians and political parties with violence, fraud, assassination, ballot stuffing, and kidnapping by political thugs.
Onwudiwe and Berwind-Dart (2010) identify various challenges facing Nigerians and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) concerning the conduct of a free and fair election. This was as a result of violence. In the political culture of the country.
As a result of the lapses here and there, both the media and other interested bodies have embarked on national campaigns to sensitize, educate, and mobilize the electorates to abstain from violence during and after elections period.
This is why INEC as a body has failed to get it right in organizing peaceful election, whereby 2007 elections under the chairmanship of Professor Maurice Iwu failed, and was heavily criticized by both local and foreign media including the international communities over the alleged high rate of fraud, bribery, elections tribunal cases, ballot box stuffing, insecurity, and rigging of elections.
With the attendant flaws, the call for Electoral Reform Act, was inaugurated in 2010, by late President Musa Yar’adua nominating committee which was chaired by Justice Owais and the National House of Assembly to look into the issue, in which the panel was unable to come out with any positive outcome.
As this lead to the coming-in of professor Attairu Jega as the new INEC chairman, saddle with the responsibility in ensuring that 2011 general election was peaceful, free and fair, and without violence. Which President Goodluck Jonathan releases about #84 billion to INEC in order to conduct a successful election.
Basically in Nigeria, one cannot but say all is not well considering the nature of the country in term of population, ethnicity, religion, ideology, social, economy, political and international perspective.
According to Anaeto and Anaeto (2010:34)Africa countries are best with many challenges-social, political, cultural and economical development and transformation. Meanwhile, conflict is inevitable considering the nomenclature of Nigeria.
Without mincing words, Nigeria media have come a long way in discharging the basic ethical standards. They don’t just; inform, educate and entertained as their traditional functions required but also persuade entire citizens of the country to maintain peace and live together as one entity irrespective of differences.
Perhaps, in 2011 General Election in the country, the Nigeria media did perform their roles diligently before, during and after the election. They (media) gave wider coverage of 2011 election to every nooks and crannies of the nation. Even when the situation turned violent and the foundational structure of the country became threatened as a result of numbers of life that were lost and unestimated cost of property that went the drain.
Media, indeed, remained resolute and continued to advocate for peaceful co-existence among the politicians who have turned apart as a result of political ideology differences. This study, among other things, will vividly look at the level of coverage giving the political violence that engulfed the nation after 2011 general election.
1.2 Problem Statement
Nigeria media have come a long way in giving vivid account of an event and they are actually striving to give their best irrespective of the nature of the situation and condition of their job.
As serious and sensitive as the nature of their job, the Nigeria media due to their commitment discharge their duty diligently by giving current, accurate and balance account of any event most especially elections in the country, Nigeria.
This study will examine the role of broadcast media in eradicating elections violence in Osun State. Using OSBC, Gold FM, Unique FM as a case study.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The following are the objectives which this study intends to achieve:
- To know the role of mass media in achieving free and fair elections.
- To examine how radio and television can be used in orientating the masses about election process and procedures.
- To examine the impact of radio and television on the electorate political habits.
- To highlight how mass media contribute toward safeguarding citizen votes.
- To analyse mass media strategy in crisis prevention and resolution.
1.4 Research Questions
These are questions toward solving the research topic. In this wise, the research questions for this study are:
- Do mass media have role to play in achieving free and fair elections.
- How often do radio and television are used in orientating the masses about the need for peaceful election?
- To what extent are radio and television impacted on the electorate political voting habits?
- To what extent can the media contribute toward safeguarding citizen votes?
- To what extent do broadcast media involve in crisis resolution?
- Is there any challenge facing broadcast media in curbing election violence?
- To what extent has broadcast media involve other stakeholders in crisis resolution?
1.5 Significance of the Study
As an academic work which intends to pass through scientific scrutiny in terms of empirical analysis, aims to be of help in so many ways:
It will add to the academic knowledge for the benefit of researchers who might want to engage in the same topic or something similar Students: Students at all level will equally find it useful most importantly as reference point.
It will also set a focus for the media practitioners to determine their weak areas at the same time improve on salient parts.
It will also benefit government to know how to empower and use mass media in crisis resolution.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The researcher will discuss issues on the role of broadcast media in eradicating election violence in Osun State.
The study will be limited in scope to the coverage of three broadcast station in Osun state which are OSBC, Gold FM and Unique FM. Since it is very difficult if not impossible to cover the entire mass media in Nigeria. Therefore, the demographic of the three stations will be considered for the success of the research.
1.7 Limitations to the Study
Wide research of this nature cannot be carried out without some constrains, this constrains pose a lot of limitations to this work.
Time: Duration for the research work is relatively short.
Academic Activities: Stress emanated from other academic activities is also
Limited Material: Little materials are also available because the work is relatively new.
Finance: Financial constrain poses another challenges to this work.
1.8 Definition of the Terms
Broadcast media: These are electronic means of communicating message to large, scatter and heterogeneous audience such as radio and television.
Free and Fair Election: This is a peaceful conduct of election i.e election without any or reduced record of violence.
Resolution: This is media step in bringing peace into the country when violence erupted as a result of announcement of 2011 presidential election result.
Election: This is electoral process that took place in 2011 where every eligible citizen were allowed to cast their vote.
Post-election Violence: This is lawless activity that engulfed the nation after the announcement of election result.