Full Project – Evaluation of the television medium as a channel for campaign against vote buying during elections in Nigeria
The history of elections in Nigeria generally has afforded us the golden opportunity of assessment of the divergent roles of the media in Nigeria political process within the framework of our national political goal. The issue and question of education, information, mobilization and monitoring has become a very crucial factor in the realization of the national objectives in the context of the electoral process. This is as a result of the ugly incidences of various forms of electoral malpractices which have repeatedly threatened the possibility of credible elections and national integration in Nigeria. Though the issue at stake is the responsibility of all stakeholders in the body politic, there is however, a rationale in assigning this responsibility as a primary’ concern of the mass media on the ground of professional competence as the fourth estate of the realm.(Aghamelu, 2023).
It has therefore, become very important to assess the roles of the mass media in the electoral history of Nigeria. To what extent has the Nigerian media discharged its statutory functions towards achieving a positive political national agenda? Iredia (2007:12) the former Director General of Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), states the problem in this regard very clearly that, the people must be assisted to premise their choices of rationality and vote wisely during elections. They must have all information that is needed to elect the right candidates who can ensure good governance. Where such public awareness is lacking, those of us in the media must accept a share of the blame of failed elections in Nigeria. (Aghamelu, 2023).
Election is one of the most important pillars of democracy. Indeed, it is a necessary condition for democracy because it provides the medium for the expression of the core principles and purposes of democracy such as the sovereignty of the citizens; freedom, choice and accountability of political leaders. In order to serve these purposes of democracy, elections must be free and fair. The notion of free and fair election expresses several conditions, including absence of manipulation, violence and fraud as well as impartiality of election management authority and effective participation by the electorate at all stages of the electoral process. An electoral process involves different stages at which decisions are made and activities are undertaken. (Codemint.net, 2023)
The stages include enactment of electoral laws; establishing electoral management authority and appointing its officials; constituency delineation; party formation and registration, voter registration; nomination of candidates and campaigns; procurement of relevant services and materials; determination of polling centres and provision of polling booths; polling, counting and declaration of results, and determination of election petitions. At all these levels, there must be transparency, fairness, and unhindered participation by every eligible person and group. Any government that emerges from any election that is not free and fair cannot be the true choices of the electorate and therefore represents the usurpation of the sovereignty of the citizens. (Codemint.net, 2023)
Successive elections in Nigeria since the colonial period lacked the essential ingredients of democratic electoral process: transparency, fairness and freeness. This failure is due to several factors: manipulation of the decisions and activities at the various stages of electoral process by the governments and politicians; corruption of officials and electorates, violence during campaigns, polling and collation; rigging through the stuffing, snatching and destruction of ballot boxes.
The incessant problem of electoral malpractices associated with godfatherism, for instance snatching of ballot boxes, political thuggery, rigging and so on was often caused by little or no enlightenment on the choices we make as electorates. Poor political education of the procedures involved in the election such as the process of registering, obtaining a voters card, accreditation, the right pattern of voting have constituted serious problems in our voting activities. The Mass Media as the voice of the people 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 has the Mass media effectively mobilized the electorate for successful electoral activities during elections
This study intends to explore investigate the role of mass media in the propagation of free and fair elections in Nigeria.
The objectives of the study are:
- To examine the approaches that the mass media adopt in providing the public with necessary Political information.
- To identify the various factors that hinder free and fair elections in Nigeria.
- To Identify how the mass media aids in promoting free and fair elections
- To analyze the contributions of the mass media to the conduct of a free and fair election in Nigeria.
1.4 Research Questions
The questions will enable the researcher proffer solution to the following problems:
- What approaches do mass media adopt in providing the public with election information?
- What are the various factors that hinder free and fair elections in Nigeria?
- How do the mass media aid in promoting free and fair elections?
- What are the contributions of the mass media to the conduct of a free and fair election in Nigeria?
1.5 Scope of the Study
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.
Broadcast: this involves sending out programs, information, ideas to the public through the mass media for instance; mass media, radio, internet etc.
Conflict: it is a situation of disagreement occurring between entities, people, group or organization.
Democracy: a political system in which the people of the country rule through any form of government they choose to establish.
Elections: this is a system of choosing a person or group of people for positions in the society by a legal way of voting.
Electorate: these are the people in a given area or country who have the right to vote.
Enfranchise: this is the right given to an individual to participate in elections.
Malpractise: a system of ill behavior that does not foster positive responsiveness.
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.
Politics: these are activities connected with the state government or general affairs. It usually involves competition between different parties on leadership positions based on election.
Region: a large area of land usually without exact boarders that a country is usually divided into comprising of its own customs and government. For example in Nigeria we have the northern region.
Stigmatization: a feeling of unimportance, un-acceptance usually caused by the treatment that people give to you.
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