THE INFLUENCE OF MASS MEDIA ON FORMATION OF GOVERNMENT POLICIES

THE INFLUENCE OF MASS MEDIA ON FORMATION AND IMPLEMENTATION GOVERNMENT POLICIES (A CASE STUDY OF IMO STATE)

ABSTRACT

There exist a tripartite relationship between the media, government and the public. In this tripartite model, the mass media occupy a central position, making its roles and responsibilities very significant and sensitive. One of the ways in which the mass media performs this dogged works is for instance during profess of policy formulations and implementations in the state. This study which was based on the survey of 380 randomly selected indigenes of Imo state, south-East Nigeria, examine the influence of the mass media in policy formulation and implementation in Imo state. Result revealed that the mass media performs the role of creating awareness on issues to draw government attention to such problems. While 45.26 percent of the respondents showed that the mass media influence policy formulation and implementation. The work therefore recommends that the mass media should be steadfast in discharging social responsibility to the masses.

CHAPTER ONE

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The news media may be the most powerful entity in every nation. If is the normal sole connection to the policies that are made, that affect the entire people. The fact is that the news media is responsible to educating people is what makes it so powerful. The media can easily swag the opinion of the citizens just by choosing what to tell them. It is because of this that the media plays an important role in policy making process in every nation and state at all levels.

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Generally policy does not just happen. There are many steps to the policy making process. In theory, there are six stages that public policies go through before it is enacted and in all of the stages, the media has a unique role to play at every point.

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First of all, the Medias influence in the problem formulation stage is enormous. The nature of the media is to report things to the public. This is crucial because when the media begins reporting on issues of importance policy makers tends to start listening.

Secondly is the formulation stage, the media’s role in this stage is very important and could be most noticeable. During this stage the policy makers try to appeal to the people through the media.

Thirdly, is the legitimating and adoption stage-policy makers looking to round up support or build opposition for a purposed policy during this stage of the process they may also choose to use media.

At the implementation stage, the role of the media is one of watchdog. Reporters often investigate on how policies are being put into effect and report to the public.

The final stage is evaluation. During this stage feedback is sought to determine the overall effectiveness of newly enacted policies.

All these explains the roles of the mass media in the process of policy formulation and implementation stages. Therefore, this study is particularly focused on the process and the role of media, with particular interest on Imo state.

1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEMS

The public policy-formulation and implementation process is often influenced by a complex network of factor. One of which is the mass media. From problem formulation stage to evaluation stage no any other factor is as influential   is the mass media in the whole process, leading to the general public even making their own opinions based on media report. This has earned the media the name, “watchdog of the society”.

However, with the increasing rate of government insensitivity to public issues in recent times, and lack of responsive measure to curb certain problems, this has brought the media under public scrutiny’s with people asking questions about the roles of mass media in the formulation and implementation of public policies in Imo state.

1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The mass media is responsible for education, enlighten, mobilization and persuade both individual, corporate bodies and government institutions. The media has unimaginable power and influence to swag people opinion just by choosing what it tells them. It can mobilize for or against any policy.

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This study therefore, seeks to examine the influence of the mass media in the formulation and implementation of policies in Imo state.

Therefore, the specific objective of the study are:

To find out what role the mass media plays in the policy making process.

To find out how effective the mass media play their roles in the policy making process in Imo state.

To find out the factors that influences the media in their performance of this role.

To find out if Imo indigenes are aware of the media responsibility to them.

1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

Based on the objectives of the study the researcher proposed the following research questions:

  • What kind of role do mass media play in the process of policy formulation and implementation?
  • How effectively do the mass media influence Imo state policy formulation and implementation?
  • Are there factors that influence the mass media in the performance of their role in the policy formulation and implementation process?
  • Are the indigenes of Imo state aware of the media responsibilities to them as a people?

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study is significant in the sense that it will help the public to understand what the roles of the mass media are in the process of policy formulation and implementation especially in serving the interest of the public. It would equally help mass communication scholars to make assessment of Nigeria media in the context of democracy.

1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This work “the influence of mass media in the formulation and implementation of policies, a study of Imo state”. Based on the topic, the work is invited only to the mass media in Imo state. It is also concerned with the opinions of the resident of Imo state. The work is also invited to the subject matter of the media influence.

  • OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS

Influence: The power or ability to affect beliefs or action.

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Mass media: All the channels of mass communication.

Policy-formulation: The process of enacting principle and laws that guides any legal institution.

Implementation: The execution rules, principles or laws that are legally enacted.

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