1.1 Background to the Study
That the media plays an important role in the development process of a nation is not gainsaying. The media typically considered as a channel of communication that are capable of reaching heterogeneous audience at the same time with uniform message. They consistently cover all kind of issues such as health, music, art, crime, sporting activity, entertainment, politics to name a few (Meyer, 2002, Soela 2004). The media sends ideas and new information to listeners in the society. Tosanisunmi (2004) has observed that the media inform, notify and entertain beyond these functions as they likewise convince and catalyze for social mobilization. Simply put, the media can be considered effective service of information since they have the ability to penetrate every part of society. They have the capability to pass messages regarding issue, ideas and product.
Furthermore, the media has that ability to develop understanding and knowledge regarding concerns of national interest. The conventional media typically include radio, television, newspaper and magazine while the news media includes the internet technologies. Contextually, these media have the obligation to mobilize for national advancement. Simply put, social mobilization for development mostly relies on the media for success. Crusade for change and dissemination of helpful information against corruption, poor governance and terrorism depend on the media. Ogwezzy (2010) specifies that it is a typical knowledge that the media is the engine of mass communication and the opportunity through which the general public might be reached.
However, election is an essential aspect of democracy; elections allow the individual to reveal a sense of belonging to a political system. Elections provide forum for the discussion of popular opinion on vital issue. Elections enable an exchange of influence between leaders and the electorate (Nwaozuzu 1999). This statement records the appropriate functions of the broadcast media in elections which acts as a mobilizing of all the different people in society and at the very same time to co-ordinate the activities as they are made to share their views regarding candidates who are contesting for political position. The broadcast media with their programmes create opportunity whereby individuals share their opinions regarding candidates. There might be phone calls in programs like radio link, state of the Country, or argument programmer responsible or otherwise and has made people pass on topical political issues. Also, the program media (Radio and Tv) provide avenue whereby people or member of society contribute on issues of public interest. They might be based on stewardship of political offices owners wanting to recontest for elections or it might need to do with electoral law that are regarded to be capable of fermenting violence. Ebo (1997) maintain that: the program media play crucial roles in the lives of the citizens regardless of where they are located and whatever their stage of development. The broadcast media are one of the most powerful and sensitive sectors of the communication industry considering the reach and influence they carry their viewers and listeners.
Orhewere's (2003) debated that the Nigerian media in the past had not shown enough dedication to professional ethic there by contributing to electoral dilemma in Western Nigerian in 1965 and subsequent elections. The significance of Orhewere's remark is that not just does the Nigerian Broadcast media posses' substantial powers, however its function as a tool of mobilization goes back to as for 1965. Simply put, the media was an extremely active tool in democratic procedures in Nigeria over a stretch of time, until the military dictatorship took the main stage from it. Nevertheless, with the re-entry of civilian government in 1999, the media viz the broadcast media have resumed its active duty of mobilizing the people for political elections. The media or broadcast media played extremely important role in political elections written 1999 and 2003, Consequently, to publish out that, the roles the media usually plays is either responsible or or else and has made people pass judgment or ascribed to failed result of elections to it. That is the success or failure of elections are usually evaluated by the function of the media for example, Chinua Achebe (1993:78) alleged that; the two previous elections under civilian rule created crisis, which culminated to the breakdown of the republics because of a number of electoral frauds some which presumably were aided and abetted by the media. Chinua Achebe's remark nevertheless begged for major questions as to, how does a watchdog ended up being a conspirator. Simply put, how does a media help and abet fraud, possibly they will form another basis for a study. Nevertheless, it is necessary to note that, certainly the broadcast media has really strong roles to play in elections. To this Burns (1977) specified that; the media in a civilized society occupy an essential and effective position with ability that can quickly affect the opinion of the masses. While Rivers (1971) specified that, it is expected to be the condolence of individuals where divergent views are revealed in order to serve as a check against autocratic and totalitarian policy. Therefore, it is against the above background that this study seeks to examine the role of the media in free, fair and credible elections by using Arise TV as a case study.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The duty of media in every society is commonly to inform, update and educate. It is thought that, where those functions are properly performed, elections are bound to be free, credible, and fair. Nevertheless, in Nigeria, a number of elections have been marred and the question now is how the media has mobilized the Nigerian people. How come electoral processes have not achieved success? Is the broadcast media system not commensurate to other media systems in other places? These and several others questions that this study wishes to identify.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to examine the role of the media in free, fair and credible elections by using Arise TV as a case study. The specific objectives include:
i) To determine the level of equal media coverage given to political parties to candidates
ii) To understand the significant relationship between media and electioneering campaign
iii) To examine the significant level of mobilization of media towards elections.
1.4 Research Questions
The following statements were considered as the research questions for this study:
i) What is the level of equal media coverage given to political parties to candidates?
ii) What is the significant relationship between media and electioneering campaign?
iii) What is the significant level of mobilization of media towards elections?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following statements were considered as the research questions for this study:
i) There is a significant relationship between media and electioneering campaign
ii) There is a significant relationship between mobilization and media towards elections
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings of the study would be significant in several ways.
It would serve as a reference material both for students and other researchers, who may have need for information and documentations on this area of academic study.
The findings would also be helpful to other media organizations in their planning and execution of electoral programs
The findings would also offer the electorate the opportunity to air their views on the way and manner media organizations handle election programs.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study focused on Lagos State and the electorate of general elections of 2023. Although the study is limited to the electorate in Lagos State, it is assumed that in Nigeria generally, the electorate has similar attributes. Based on this assumption, the result of the findings could be generalized.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
The study was faced with time and fund constraints being academic based research. The time allocated for this study was not enough as in combining the work on this study with daily academic routine. Also, the study was limited to some areas due to the problems of funds, shortage of texts, journals and information relevant to the study.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Broadcast: this involves sending out programs, information, ideas to the public through the mass media for instance; mass media, radio, internet etc.
Elections: this is a system of choosing a person or group of people for positions in the society by a legal way of voting.
Electioneering Campaign: This refers to the act or process of soliciting for support or votes for a given political party or candidate during election.
Mass media: it is an essential part of mass media which transmit pictures and sound signals over long distance through electromagnetic radiation. It is a medium of communication that enhances believability through its sight and sound appeal.
Media: It is the vehicle through which messages, information, ideas, demands and so on are passed across to the masses.
Mobilization: an act of organizing a group of people to partake in a task or incident in other to achieve a desired goal or objective.