MASS MEDIA AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: BENCHMARKING SOCIALIZATION AND AGENDA MAKING PROCESS OF THE NIGERIA MEDIA TOWARDS THE NIGERIA VISION 2020

INTRODUCTION

            The media plays a big role in the achievement of the Nigeria vision 2020. The Nigeria Vision 2020 is the country’s development programme covering the period 2008 to 2020. Its main aim is to make Nigeria an industrialized country, the quality of life of its citizens by the year 2020. This is based on three pillars:

  • the economic pillar,
  • the social pillar and
  • the political pillar.

In other words, it’s about national development, based upon improving the political, economic and social lives of the citizens. The impact of the media in national development relies on:

  • the media themselves,
  • the societies in which they operate, and
  • the audience they reach. These factors are not static but they are dynamic.

The media in draconian states, for example, are not likely to exercise the same persuasion as those in autonomous societies. Nigeria is a fairly democratic country, however in democratic governments, factors, such as technological advancement, the intended audience and the message manipulates how far the media impacts on the society.

The fact that every medium has a message, its target audience and aims at influencing behavior in terms of the attitudes, perception and the mind-set, gives it a vantage point to influence development in a nation. The media communicates to its audience, creating a shared meaning through sending and receiving of information.

Knowledge is power therefore the media is vital for understanding and providing knowledge to the people. Baran, (2002). Through communication the people get to be aware of and value their environment, in addition communication paves way for relationships among individuals and societies. Whatever form communication may take, it is meant to convey information from one party to another. Key factors to effective communication comprises of; the source, message, medium, receiver and effects. Mcqual, (1986).

For significant influence to be achieved on the audience there is need for Mass Communication. Mass Communication is the communication between a mass medium and its audience. Ibid, (2000).

The media entails numerous ways through which communication is carried out. The influence of the media towards national development is crucial and requires attention from scholars.

However, it is significant to understand what is meant by the term “national development” so as to be in a position to merge media to national development. The Oxford dictionary 2001 looks at development a new stage in a changing situation.

According Fowler, (2001) To “develop” is to become more advanced. Eapen, (1973) looks at national development in terms of three key pointers: economic growth, self-reliance, and social justice. National development involves factors like: political, economic and social factors. Development should factor in economic structure, social environment and political maturity. We cannot talk about development without factoring in the people, because national development targets the citizens since human development is the overall objective of national development.

With reference to UNDP Human Development Report of 2002, it looks at national development in terms of, right to knowledge, improved nutrition and medical services, protection from crime and violence, political freedoms and free participation in community activities. Media is seen as a crucial factor to national development because of its capability of influencing public opinion. Such that the power to influence public opinion should be handled responsibly and with utmost care because it can turn out to be negative if it will be biased sensationalist and careless in handling matters. Media freedom is compulsory, if it is to play an active role in national development.

Nigerian media zealously fought for the freedom of the press by opposing a media bill that was geared to set up a communications and multimedia appeals Tribunal with powers to impose penalties on journalists and even powers to stop a journalist from working.

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