PUBLIC PERCEPTION OF MEDIA REPORTAGE OF POPULATION GROWTH AND ITS IMPLICATION ON NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: A STUDY OF SOME SOUTH-SOUTH STATES

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ABSTRACT

The need for population checks in any country cannot be over-emphasized. This need becomes very important in a country like Nigeria where people depend on speculations for information in all spheres of life. It was reported from the latest updated census figures that the population of Nigeria is 167 million. This number is alarming in a country which depend mainly on importation of virtually every need of her citizens and on one source of income. The social responsibility theory and the perception theory was used in this research work to further explain the role of the media and its effectiveness in bringing the dangers of overpopulation to the government and the public and also to see the public perception of how the media has been reporting the issues of overpopulation and its implication on the nations development. The survey method was used in this study to elicit responses from the 385 respondents generated through probability sampling on their perception of how the media have been able to provide adequate information on population growth and how it affects national development. The data got were presented and analysed using simple charts and tables. In summary, the study empirically studied the association between population growth and national development in Nigeria and found that growth rate- in population outweighs that of output and this has hindered the capacity of successive governments to efficiently provide social services to the people, thereby negatively affecting development. This study recommended that the media should consciously package message content or information on the implication of rapid population growth on national development that could persuade, encourage or convince the public or target audience to adopt an attitude and participate in actualizing a development plan or goal.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page
Table of Contents
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1       Background of the Study
1.2       Statement of the Problem
1.3       Objectives of the Study
1.4       Research Questions
1.5       Significance of the Study
1.6       Scope of the Study
1.7       Definition of Terms
References

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1       Review of Related Studies
2.2       An Over View of Perception
2.3       Public Perception of Media
2.4       Population and National Development
2.5       Effect of Over Population
2.6       Population Control in Nigeria
2.7       Population Policies and Problem of Communication
2.8       Theoretical Framework
2.8.1    The Social Responsibility Theory
2.8.2    The Perception Theory
References

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1       Research Design
3.2       Area of Study
3.3       Population of the Study
3.4       Sample Size
3.5       Sampling Technique
3.6       Description of Research Instruments
3.7       Validity of Research Instruments
3.8       Reliability of Research Instruments
3.9       Method of Data Collection
3.10     Method of Data Analysis
References

CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS
4.1       Data Presentation and Analysis
4.2       Discussion of Findings

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1       Summary
5.2       Conclusion
5.3       Recommendations
5.4       Limitations of the Study
5.5       Suggestions for further studies
Bibliography
Appendix

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1         Background of the Study

The media have contributed to the growth and development of the society in terms of political, economic, cultural, educational, agricultural and social system, etc. Fundamentally, media have become an essential part of our life. Moreover, the media played most significant role towards promoting the political, social and economic aspirations of the nation (Uche, 1998). In the context of sustainable development, the press or mass media remains a vital instrument in the realization of nations’ goals. It is believed that the media motivate the people as well as ensure participation in the growth and developmental process apart from informing and educating members of the society (Adebayo, 2003). As part of her surveillance role in respect to information and news, the media as instrument of development, is expected to inform and educate members of the society on specific areas of national development. The reason for media reportage on population programmes and policies in developing societies, such as Nigeria is to make the public understand the need to watch the rapidly growing population and how it affects national development. In addition, information from the media have been considered as the backbone for rural, social and economic development.

However, beyond information and transmission role of the media, the media provides, to a large extent, background details relevant to the news, explanations of related events, analysis of their importance and implication. The media possess the capacity to do this better. (Dennis and Defleur, 1994).


The ever-increasing world population growth rate and the rapidity of such increase, particularly for developing nations have been of concern to population analysts and policy makers and media practitioners. For most African countries, Nigeria inclusive, the situation can be said to be alarming. In 1990, the population of Nigeria was 108.5million, it increased to 126.9million by 1995 and in the year 2000, it has increased to 147.7million, the urban population situation shows a higher increasing rate. Urban population in Nigeria rose from 49.8million in 1995 to 63.9milIion by the year 2000 and the last population census conducted in 2006 shows that the Nigerian population has increased to 160 million (UNFPA, 2007).The population growth rate has been on the increase. The overall socioeconomic consequences of this rapid rate of population increase cannot be over-emphasized. The fear of these consequences led the Nigeria government in 1988 to formulate a national population policy aimed at controlling the country’s population growth rate. In 2006, the National population commission, in order to ensure sustainable development rolled out some principles that will help curtail the growing population and also the impact of overpopulation on the economy (NPC 2006). The National population Commission sees a situation of the population reaching 180 million in 2016 as the growth rate is about 3 per cent annually (NPC 2011).

Consequently, the world population has been increasing and the last two decades have been demographically unprecedented as it rose from 4.8 billion people in 1985 to 6.4 billion in 2004. Much of this increase occurred in the developing nations as their populations grew from 3.7 billion to 5.1 billion as against that of developed nations which grew from 1.1 billion to 1.2 billion over the same period (United Nations, Population Reference Bureau, 2004). When it is noted that the high fertility countries are mainly resource constrained with low levels of social and economic development, it becomes obvious why they have accepted responsibility to control the growth of their populations through endorsement of family planning programmes mapped out at various international conferences organized by the United Nations (United Nations, 1998).

Nigeria is a high fertility country and there is evidence that its large population inhibits government’s efforts in meeting the basic needs of the people. With a population that already exceeds 130 million people and growing at roughly three per cent annually, (United Nations, 2004), a considerable proportion of the country’s resources is, doubtless, consumed instead of being accumulated as capital for development purposes. To that extent, the rate of development lags behind that of population growth, which triggers stagnation in social service delivery. This necessarily impedes whatever progress that is being achieved in the fight against poverty (NPC 2006).

The media in fulfilling its responsibility needs to systematically analyse the trends in population growth and how it has been affecting national development. The newspaper stories, articles about the need to control the growing population and how it affects national development are to help enlighten the people on the need to engage in family planning. The way members of the public perceive these media messages is due to the volume of coverage given to population growth and national development. The media have the responsibility to alert the readers on the growing needs of the population and also the need to control the present growth rate of the population so that it does not hamper national development and also proper planning of the government.

The media, with specific reference to the collective entity of newspapers, radio, television and the International Network (Internet), play a very important role in national development. National development involves changes or advancement in a nation aimed at improving the political, economic and social lives of the people. The real influence of the media in national development will depend on the media themselves, the societies in which they operate, and the audience they reach. None of these factors are the same everywhere, at all times, or under all conditions. The media in dictatorships, for example, are not likely to exercise the same influence as those in democratic societies. Even among similar types of government, other factors, such as technology, the target audience and the message, may influence the extent of media impact in the society.....

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