THE USE OF RADIO BROADCASTING IN RURAL DEVELOPMENT

the use of radio broadcasting in rural development

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background of the Study

To say that rural dwellers constitute the “majority of mankind” tantamount to stating the obvious. The picture as it exists Nigeria, cuts across the entire developing countries of Africa, Latin America and Asia. Ruralism, one may be tempted to hurriedly conclude, is synonymous with the general condition of underdevelopment in these countries. By rural societies, we imply ways of life that are traditionally oriented, linked with, but separate from urban centres, combining market activities with subsistence production.

People who are engaged in rural non-farm economic activities need information on food processing, banking, textile, weaving, raffia work and tailoring, among others. They also require information on wood works, metal work, repair services for radio, television, vehicles and watches and other miscellaneous activities like soap making (Belshew, 2005). Rural people also need information on the importance of good source of drinking water and the prevention of common diseases. Mortality and malnutrition of children are particularly prevalent in rural communities; therefore, a lot of information on childcare is required. Rural dwellers also require information on social participation in any programme for rural development.

The above implies that the rural populace is, in essence, characterized by such features as widespread ignorance which results from their inability to read and write scattered settlements and high level of illiteracy. In addition, the rural populace represents the constituency of the bulk of victims of inaccessibility to such urban amenities as good shelter and health facilities. In relation to other parts of the globe. Rogers (2008) once found that “Asia, Africa and Latin America have a total of no less than 1.75 billion peasants”, which implies that no less than “three fourths of the population in most less developed countries are peasant rural dwellers” Coming to the specific instance of Nigeria, apart from the much quoted seventy-five (75%) percentage of rural and illiterate Nigerians, the 2006 Nigerian census indicates a total population figure of 166.2 million for the country. Of this, a staggering figure was found to be rural. For the fact that the country’s population had steadily soared up since this last census exercise, it is better imagined what the rural population situation will be as at the moment.

Obviously, the rural populace suffers from an acute low productivity, social and economic retrogression due mainly to ignorance, which is also a direct consequence of either inadequate or total lack of information provision to them (Belshew, 2005). Hence, their social exclusion from active participation in national development efforts. Considering their numerical strength in relation to the potentiality of what positively significant contributions they stand to make in the society generally, their exclusion from the main-stream of events can, at best, be described as a cog in the wheel of the nation’s progress. After all, the fact that information has always played an important role in human life and as a basic human need was never a subject of controversy. If it is then true that information and ideas, agreed upon by information experts, are basic human needs, it will not be out of place making bold to state that free and equal accessibility to such information and ideas by every member of the society irrespective of racial, religious, geopolitical and socioeconomic status becomes even more foundational (Njokus, 2001). This is even more so that every human society–urban and rural alike–had been found to be considerably dependent on various types of information, though at different levels, for their existence, survival and growth on a daily basis.

It was therefore in an attempt to attend to all and sundry via information provision that the philosophy behind the emergence of the popular broadcast media of communication was rooted. The library as such an information provision instrument is however a comparatively recent phenomenon. The need to adequately inform every segment of a society could not have been unconnected to the realization of the essence of information and knowledge as a veritable democratic tool. Effective access to it increase people’s ability to be informed on current issues, on how to conduct personal as well as civic obligations and responsibilities.

In this way, every member is duly carried along; individual, community and national drive towards a general societal emancipation with that much needed sense of belonging. After all, an uniformed society cannot be free while a society devoid of freedom can hardly endure. Hence the emergence of professionals  in the field of information whose specialties revolve around the primary functions of gathering, processing, organizing and ultimately providing a wide variety of useful information to an equally wide spectrum of audience (Moemeka, 2005) . This also led to the need for people specially trained in the handling and use of such technological instruments as the newspaper and recently the satellite broadcast together with appropriate techniques for ensuring a satisfactory provision of information. These are hereby referred to as the information professionals, in whatever guise or disguise for so long as they perform those earlier stated basic functions of information provision.

In rural areas, the radio plays a vital role in spreading information, educating and enlightening people, strengthening national integration, and creating national identity.

Radio has the potential for information, inspiration, and instruction for rural dwellers. From the definition of rural dwellers, most will be illiterates and few literates, engaged in the production of food fibre and raw materials. Those engaged in agriculture would no doubt require information on specific supplies required on their farm. They need to know where, when and how to begin to plant seeds, use pesticides, use mechanical equipment, etc. They also need to know the process, names of suppliers and how to satisfy the conditions for obtaining them (Njokus, 2001).

1.2       Statement of the Problem

It remains a fact that rural information provision by information professionals is far from adequate in Nigeria as a whole and Edo State in particular. It has been observed, and correctly too, that the specific area of information provision to rural dwellers has suffered greatly and perennially from near-complete neglect. Thus, the rural populace, in contrast to its urban counterpart, is information starved. The urban-oriented nature of popular media of mass information provision outfits like the radio had further compounded the problem by creating the unwholesome impression that information needs and efforts towards meeting such needs are strictly urban affairs. The problem necessitating this study is therefore what is the role of radio in rural development?

1.3       Objectives of the Study

i.            To examine the importance of radio to rural dwellers.

ii.            To examine the role of radio in promoting rural development.

iii.            To ascertain the problem militating against the utilization of radio for rural dweller’s social, political and economic development.

iv.            To ascertain the extent to which radio has aid in ensuring rural development

v.            To examine the extent to which the rural community depends on radio for information.

1.4       Research Questions

Based on the purpose of the study, the following questions were addressed in the study.

i.            What are the importance’s of radio to rural dwellers?

ii.            What are the role of radio in rural development?

iii.            What are the problem militating against the print media in their dissemination of information to rural dwellers?

iv.            To what extent has radio aid in ensuring rural development?

v.            To what extent has the rural areas depends on radio for information.

1.5       Significance of the Study

The relevance of this research work cannot be over emphasized given the importance of information to mankind.

The outcome of this study will equip the print media and personnel to provide adequate information that is needed for rural development.

It also will serve as a source of reference to rural dwellers in educating them on the importance of the print media in rural development.

In the academic, the out of this study will assist lecturers especially those treating related topics in passing knowledge across to the students. It will serve a reference material to lecturers.

Finally, students of mass communication will also find the work useful as it touches on their area of specialization.

1.6       Scope of the Study

This study is designed to critically examine radio as an effective tools for developing rural area in Nigeria.

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