ABSTRACT: The study is set out to assess the tv as an instrument for electioneering campaign. The study was anchored on Agenda Setting Theory, Social Responsibility Theory and Democratic Participant Theory respectively. A survey research method was adopted while structured questionnaire was also employed to elicit responses from respondents that were accidentally. The study employed frequency and percentage method with SPSS version 23. The study finds out that television was used to educate and sensitize voters during 2019 general election in Nigeria while political parties and candidates observed their campaigns on television which influenced voting pattern of electorates and by extension TV was a change agent for electioneering campaign in Nigeria. It was recommended that media should be conscious of what they do to maintain their credibility and integrity, therefore, media should be sensitive to national interest and social responsibility while broadcast media should be free from few influential politicians to avoid turning the media into tools of propaganda.
Keywords: ELECTIONEERING CAMPAIGN
1.1 Background to the Study
The important role mass media particularly television play in fostering an environment of good governance and political education needs hardly be emphasized. As the watchdog and interpreter of public issues and events, the television has a special role in every political society because of its ability to present political education, electoral process, live coverage of political campaign, pattern of voting, behaviour at the polling unit, voting on the election, counting of votes, announcing of winner in election among other in an audiovisual manner. In information-based society of ours television brings political messages to the people as it happen.
Democracy cannot exist in the absence of the press. This is because democracy is based on popular will and popular opinion depends on the public’s awareness, education and knowledge. It is the mass media most especially television that promotes and propagates political education awareness and education. For instance, in the last Governorship election in Osun state and Ekiti state live coverage were given to most of the campaigns and rally organized by the political parties involved while electorate were taught on how to cast and fold their ballot papers to prevent void.
Fischer (2002) says the main responsibility of the press is to provide comprehensive, analytical and factual news and opinions to the people on everyday issues and events of popular concern. To fulfill its duty and responsibility, the press must work according to the fundamental principles of professional ethics, as well as norms and values of journalism.
Goodman (2010) opines that democracy can neither be sustainable nor strong without a free press. On the other hand, press freedom will not be possible without democracy. Therefore, the mass media and journalists must be committed to democracy. For this, the press must be perpetually involved in the establishment and promotion of a democratic culture.
The press must remain ever vigilant to protect and enforce people’s freedom of thought and expression and citizens’ right to all information relating to the various aspects of their life and future.
Held (2006) also observes the fact that access to information is a citizen’s right and must be taken to heart, and information must be presented in a simple and palatable manner. Right to information is inherent in democratic functioning and a pre-condition for good governance and the realization of all other human rights, including education and health care. The main objectives should be the promotion of transparency and accountability in governance so as to minimize corruption and inefficiency in public office and to ensure the public’s participation in governance and decision making.
Awoleye, Omotosho and Abodoye (2008) write that electoral system is the process by which the citizens of the state vote to elect people to represent their interests and opinions in the government or parliament. Anyaele (2003) writes that electoral systems is a system and procedure by which citizens of a democratic country select through either direct voting or indirect those who will represent them in the parliament and other positions in the government. The universal use of elections as a tool for selecting representatives in modern democracies.
Ntete-Nna (2004) cited in Robert and John (1974) reports that the essential role of election is to act as a mechanism whereby leaders are circumscribed and made aware that there is a contingent one at least where there is real possibility that they may be outside from office. Radio plays different roles in the lives of its audience, to many; it could be an educative, informative as well as an entertainment medium. Although the use of television alone may not create total awareness to individuals as a result of its restraining factor such as expensiveness, irregular power supply and so on.
Elections are about choices and for these choices to reflect the aspirations of the people for improved standard of living, they must be based on accurate and reliable information about the three key elements in the electoral process the candidates, the issues and the political parties.
The media provides the basic information required to make the right choices during an election. (Media Guide for the 2011General Elections-INEC). The media also provides the framework for communication between the candidates who seek the votes and the electorates. In addition, the media facilitates the electoral process through dissemination of consent information on the voting arrangements and procedures, mobilization of the electorate and serves as watchdogs of the electoral system.
A vibrant and responsible media, therefore, plays a significant role in conducting credible elections and in deepening democracy. The media must not only be reinforced as a strong pillar of democracy but it must be oriented to be n irresistible advocate of free and fair election, the insuppressible voice of the people and the vanguard of democratic values. (Media Guide for the 2011General Elections-INEC)
In the course of elections, messages that encourage goodwill and harmony among all the ethnic groups, religions, genders, cultures, languages, regions, political and communities should be broadcast. Television plays the role of watch-dog in reporting corruption, complacency and negligence. In a changing, competitive landscape, compliance to good governance has never been taken so seriously, as people demand more transparency from both the government and private sectors. Responsible practices from government, universal principles on human rights and the fight against corruption have assumed great importance. It is against this backdrop that the research assessing television as an instrument for election campaign in Nigeria with a focus on OSBC and NTA Osogbo and electorate in the 2022 governorship election in Osun state.
1.2 Statement of the Study
The incessant problem of electoral malpractices associated with godfatherism, snatching of ballot boxes, ballot paper, political thuggery, rigging and so on was often caused by little or no enlightenment and electoral education on the choices we make as electorates.
Poor political education on the procedures involved in the election such as the process of registration, obtaining a voters’ card, accreditation, the right pattern of voting have constituted serious problems in our voting and electoral activities.
Television as the voice of the people which play important roles in the entire political activities. It is part of the duty of the Media to sufficiently mobilize the electorate for the electoral activities. The question this research seeks to answer is how television stations (OSBC and NTA Osogbo) have effectively educated, sensitized and mobilized the electorate for successful electoral activities during 2022 governorship elections in Osun state.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the study are as follows:
- To examine whether OSBC and NTA educate electorate on political activities.
- To know whether electorate involvement in the electoral processes was as a result of information received from television and other media.
1.4 Research Questions
- To what extent have OSBC and NTA educate electorate on electoral activities in Osun state?
- Did electorates involvement in the electoral processes was as a result of information received from the television?
1.5 Scope of the Study
The study which assessing television as an instrument for election campaign in Nigeria has been narrowed in scope to OSBC, NTA Osogbo and the electorate in Osun state. The choice of OSBC, NTA Osogbo and the electorate in Osun state i.e electorates in Osun West, Osun East and Osun Central respectively. Generally, the electorate has similar characteristics.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings of the study would be significant in several ways. It serves as a reference material both for students and other researchers, who may need such information for further studies. The findings will also helpful to other media organizations in their planning and execution of electoral programs. The findings offer the electorate the opportunity to air their views on the way and manner media organizations handle election programs.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Role: This refers to the impact of television stations particularly OSBC and NTA Osogbo in ensuring electoral education and political development in electoral system in Osun state.
Television: It refers to the means of disseminating political and electoral information to the people of Osun state.
Electoral education: This involves all form of education towards creating awareness of election activities.
Political Mobilization: An act of organizing a group of people to partake in an election in other to achieve a desired goal or objective.
Electorate: These are the people in Osun state or Nigeria who have the right to vote.
OSBC: Osun state Broadcasting Corporation
NTA: Nigerian Television Authority.
ASSESSMENT OF TV AS AN INSTRUMENT FOR ELECTIONEERING CAMPAIGN
Format = MS Word, Price = ₦4000, Chapter = 1-5, Pages = 52, References = Yes, Questionnaire =Yes, Table of Contents = Yes and Abstract = Yes
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