1.1 Background to the Study
Human aligned their cultural and value system with relative to their aims, expectation, and standard of living for to lives a better life (Ruževičius J and Akranavičiūtė D., 2007) that assimilate their quality of life that includes individual’s physical and psychological health, and how they have a rapport with environment and society. (Ruževičius J., 2014). This advancement was probably distressed by the most condemnatory period where its prolongation is in commination by the surfacing of a novel corona virus (Hick JL, Biddinger PD., 2020) that was the first outline on December 2019 in a Wuhan city of China, (Zheng J., 2020) later it was divulged as a public health emergency outbreak of COVID 19, after escalating to other countries on January 30, 2020, by the World Health Organizations (Güner Hr, Hasanoğlu & Aktaş F., 2020). This outbreak has fabricated a health crisis globally and creates remarkable knock-on possessions on the daily life of citizens, as well as about the global economy. Not only the rate of imparting of the disease influence the life but because of slackening of socio-economic activities and outspread curtailment to stay at home effects (Kumar M. and Dwivedi S., 2020) the daily routine work, that is accountable for giving rise to threat and disruption in prolongation of life amid general population after taking diverse steps by the Nigerian government.
Throughout the health crisis, mass media has an eminent role to play in the current community. The mass media - print, television, radio, and the internet - has an unprecedented outstretch as an imparting appliance. In the course of a public health crisis (COVID-19) mass media directly influence the solitary life in a positive and negative demeanor both and glance the all age group in one and the potency by patronage to the other abstruse alteration, economic stagnation, education, well-being, employment, communal relationships, healthcare provocation to combat COVID 19, and many more amid the society (Gunther; 1998).
Infelicitous irrational outcomes among people have been seen to expand remarkably course of knowledge and rampart providing information and messages prevail via mass media. It follows administer the special recognition to a particular matter, the more coverage on the subject matter by media, (Institute of Medicine US; 2002) sustain more recognition and perturb, especially when it comes to the health of people's lives and have potentiality in mounting an agenda by formulating the issuance to take measures on that (McCombs ME, Shaw DL.; 1972). It is conscientiously realized that the mass media, principally its conventional elements (print, television, and radio) is in numerous ways that impoverished channel for the transmission of scientifically precise details about health and medicine, susceptible to aggrandizement, the transgression of exclusion, and absolute inaccuracy. Fishman JM and Casarett D; (2006) also outlined unjustifiable rumors or staggering media coverage has the proficiency to construct misapprehension, misinformation concerning threat approximate in the minds of the extensive public with regards to the likelihood in a public health crisis.
As a sequel, rapidly expanding information by mass media accountable for fabricating panic concerning COVID-19 and may acquire it undergo psychological problems in public from all the socioeconomic domains, which could be even more deleterious in the long run than the virus itself. Bridget Dibb (2019) also found a positive association between one of the most important mass media i.e. social media with physical health, wellbeing, and quality of life (Bridget Dibb 2019). Therefore during pandemic mass media plays a foremost role by providing the diverse feature of information on a mass level and those may impact on individual's physical, social, psychological, and environmental domains of quality of life (González-Blanch C et al; 2018). Therefore, this study aims to determine the association of mass media with physiological, psychological, physical, social, and environmental domains of quality of life during COVID 19 pandemic by considering the topic on the Corona virus (COVID-19); the impact and role of mass media in the prevention of the pandemic by using Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri, Imo State, as a case study.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Media ought to show the impact of social distancing by creating general awareness among people. A crucial role is being played by media in spreading information to the people of across the nation. Media should let the people know about the lockdown that states has ordered and about what is necessary, beside highlight data of other countries should be included with the impact of epidemic and journals by scientist of other countries. In case people show any symptoms, in any case they should be told protocols to be followed. To inform the people about medical facilities and isolation protocols. Many channels and journalist have been criticized for spreading fake news.
Our society has been seriously affected by fake news, which led to increase in hatred and violence, and horrific incident of lynching. People are not finding the credible source in television or internet. Narratives are shown as facts and this causes the rise in fake news. Many important information are not given privilege, instead rumors and narratives are shown for whole time. The current situation of media is out of order, and in this case it is too rigorous to expose lurking data out of haze of government. Thus other than inquiring government’s action freely, media is limited to only exhibit to the news which has ability to influence the importance placed on the topic of public agenda proposed by them. In this time when everywhere else in the world, all the prisoners are being released from the jail, here criminals are still being arrested and sent to prison even during the lockdown, this incident is not getting any media privilege. News executives are impelled to show or promote influencing and constructive narrative done by the government. Misleading of information has been done throughout.
There is a crisis of credibility in Nigerian media. On private news channels debates have been condemned for being shrill and strident. In Nigeria, we have Africa’s most vibrant and competitive media environment. Now, it is high time to organize a reality check and have a look at what is wrong with it. The media should never be anti or pro government, rather it should be what actually is going on in the society. In this crisis news channel should be more focused on entertaining the viewers with letting them know about the medical facilities available in country, what equipment are necessary in fighting this crisis, showing the fact based things rather than creating a hostility between two religions, caste, state or country.
1.3 Objectives of the study
The general objective of this study is to examine Corona virus (COVID-19) the impact and role of mass media in the prevention of the pandemic by using Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri as a case study. The specific objectives however are:
a) To inquire about the rate of reports on media in curbing the spread of coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.
b) To understand the role of mass media in preventing COVID-19
c) To investigate the various issues faced by mass media personnel in the COVID-19 reportage
d) To determine the impact of COVID-19 on the Nigerian mass media operation
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions will guide the study;
a) What is the rate of reports on media in curbing the spread of coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria?
b) What is the role of mass media in preventing COVID-19?
c) What are the various issues faced by mass media personnel in the COVID-19 reportage?
d) What is the impact of COVID-19 on the Nigerian mass media operation?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
a) There is a significant correlation between the rate of reports on media and curbing the spread of coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.
b) There is no significant correlation between the impact of COVID-19 and the Nigerian mass media operation
1.6 Significance of the Study
As the rate of spread of corona virus increases in the country, there is an urgent need for extensive research to be conducted in the area. Granted that for most the issue of suicide could be delineated to the field of clinical sciences, and research, however, research and information gotten from the field of mass communication could be of value to the general body of knowledge in bringing solutions to the rising problem of infectious diseases in the country.
According to the Bryant and Miron (2004), the high-frequency consumption of media content makes people susceptible to the views projected in the media content they take in. If the assumptions are anything to go by then the need to investigate on the reportage of corona virus (one of the rising cases of cause death in the country) will be a move in the right direction.
This study will be of great help to media publishing houses who cover stories on related topics in order to help them shape their contents to be favorable to the health and psychology of their audience.
The research will add to the body of knowledge on the issue of Corona virus for scholars and research to build upon for further research.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study focuses on the mass media reports on Corona virus disease and its awareness among the staff members and students of Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri. Since every research has its time and limit, the scope of this study is the mass media reportage or coverage of prevention of the pandemic in Nigeria. The scope of this study is delimited to coverage of prevention of the pandemic in Nigeria on 100 selected staff members and students of Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri, Imo State, only issues surrounding the COVID-19 disease will be the main interest of this study.
1.8 Definition of Terms
The following terms were used in the process of writing this study:
Newspapers: Newspapers are written publications containing published news and information on issues periodically published daily. It refers to the newspapers that covered and reported about the issues relating to depression and suicide in Nigeria.
Communication: This is the process of sharing of information which includes five basic factors: an initiator; a recipient; a vehicle or channel; a message and an effect. The initiator designs or encodes the message and transfer the message through the vehicle with the intent of stimulating an effect.
Print media: The print media refers to the channels of communication that present information on paper, published, printed medium such as newspapers and magazines as opposed to the broadcast media.
Coverage: Coverage refers to the amount or totality of news and information provided by the newspapers on issues through its contents over a specific period. It can also be defined as the way the Nigerian newspapers reported or gave account of issues pertaining to depression and suicide.
Virus: A virus is a small infectious agent that replicates only inside the living cells of an organism. Viruses can infect all types of life forms, from animals and plants to microorganisms, including bacteria and archaea
Pandemic: A pandemic is a disease epidemic that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple continents, or worldwide. A widespread endemic disease with a stable number of infected people is not a pandemic. Further, flu pandemics generally exclude recurrences of seasonal flu.
Epidemic: An epidemic is the rapid spread of disease to a large number of people in a given population within a short period of time. For example, in meningococcal infections, an attack rate in excess of 15 cases per 100,000 people for two consecutive weeks is considered an epidemic
COVID-19: Corona Virus Disease 2019.