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AN ASSESSMENT OF PUBLIC RELATIONS STRATEGY AS A TOOL TO PROMOTE GOVERNMENT POLICIES TO THE CITIZENRY

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AN ASSESSMENT OF PUBLIC   RELATIONS  STRATEGY AS A TOOL TO PROMOTE GOVERNMENT POLICIES TO THE CITIZENRY; THE PRACTICE OF ANAMBRA STATE GOVERNMENT

 

ABSTRACT

The research  provides a theoretical and conceptual assessment  of public relations strategy as a tool to promote government policies to the citizenry; it appraises as a case study the  practice of the Anambra State Government. The research elucidate the concept of public relations, its functions, significance and strategies as it can be applied to implement and accelerate government policies to the benefit of the citizenry.

INTRODUCTION

The government as an institution is an organization and can only succeed when it maintains mutual lines of communication between itself and its citizenry. Public relations in government in brief, is the concerted nefforts of the government officials to establish appropriate and effective communication system that enables

them to produce, project and sustain government’s goals, aspirations, programmes, activities and policies to reach the ultimate beneficiaries of the programmes, in most cases, the community. Public relations is employed in various ways to help the government to establish mutual lines of communication for faithful

exchange of ideas and perspectives between it and the governed and also, to create image for the government, both locally and internationally . p.1). Nwosu (1996,p.204) says that:

Whether military or civilian, government must have the support and acceptance of the citizenry to be effective and to even survive for a reasonable period. In theory and in practice, every government derives its legitimacy or rights to govern from the people or citizens. In a true democracy, government is voted in by the people to hold  power, influence and control on behalf of the collectivity, of the masses or citizenry

CHAPTER 1

1.1        BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Johnson and Zawawi (2004,p.404) observes that public relations sector in modern democratic governance implements its policies by using various mass media. Government management takes two forms; dissemination of political information and dissemination of public information. Nwosu (1996,p.204) however opines that very often, many people in government, especially those in developing countries, seem to forget the relevance of public relations in the government circle and as a result, they operate as if they can do without the support and the acceptance of the citizenry. They run state affairs as rulers or feudal lords, instead of leaders or servants of the people, for whom they hold political power and trust. But the theory and practice of modern governance teaches that government, like any other social institution, must be accountable to the people and operate in the people’s interest.

Black (1976,p.140) says that public relations is an essential part of management and this is true in central government as in industry. The function of public relations in government is essentially non-political. It is the province of the political parties to organize such public relations activity, as they may consider necessary to publicize or promote their party’s policy. Public relations in a government department has two main tasks; to give regular information on policy, plans and achievements of the departments and to inform and educate the public on legislation, regulations and all matters that affect the daily life of citizens. It must also advise ministers and senior officials of reaction and potential reaction to actual or proposed policies. In their work on public relations and the information role of the government to the people, Wilcox, Ault and Agee (1998,p.333) declare that: There has always been a need for Government communication if for no other reason, than to inform citizens of the services available and the manner in which they may be used. In a democracy, public information is crucial if citizens are to make intelligent judgment about the policies and activities of their elected representative. The research intends to provide an assessment of public relations strategy as a tool to promote government policies to the citizenry with a case appraisal of the practice of Anambra State Government.

1.2    STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

            The efficient running and management of government affairs and activities lies with promoting and implementing programmes and policies that impact on the citizenry. In this regard the citizenry fully understand and appreciate the activities of government thereby enhancing harmony and mutual benefit between government and the people. However this goal  often  is far from being attained as the government implement its policies without  the  impact and understanding of the citizenry.

Therefore the problem confronting this research is to provide an assessment of public relation strategy as a tool to promote government policies to the citizenry with a case appraisal of the practice of Anambra State Government 

1.3   RESEARCH   QUESTION

1      What is public relation, functions and significance

1            What is the nature of public relation strategy as a tool to promote government policies to the people

2            What is the nature of public relation practice  of Anambra State Government

1.4    OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

1      To appraise the nature of public relation, functions and significance

2      To determine the nature of public relation strategy as a tool to promote government policies to the citizenry

3    To determine the  public relation  practice of anambra state government.

1.5    SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

         The significance of the study is to project the importance of creating synergy, understanding and mutual benefit and impact between the government and the citizenry

1.6    STATEMENT OF THE HYPOTHESIS

1      H0    The level of public relation practice in Anambra State is         low

H1   The level of public relation practice in Anambra State is         high

2      H0    The  challenges of public relation practice in Anambra   State is high

        H1    The challenges of public relation practice in Anambra                    State is low

3      H0    The  impact of public relation strategy as a tool in                          promoting government policies  in Anambra State is low

        H1    The impact of public relation strategy as a tool in                           promoting government policies in Anambra State is high

1.7    SCOPE OF THE STUDY

  The research focuses on the assessment of public relations strategy as a tool to promote government policies to the citizenry with a case appraisal of public relations practice in Anambra State.

1.8     DEFINITION   OF TERMS

PUBLIC RELATION PRACTICE

         A PR Practitioner is a liaison between his institution and the public. He is responsible for setting public relations policy to represent the corporation or agency to the public and for conducting research to provide adequate feedback from the public to the institution. Usually, a PR practitioner works closely with top level management and is instrumental in influencing management’s policy changes. The PR person can be described as a strategist who plans and executes large scale public relations efforts. It is the duty of the public relations practitioners of an organization to communicate the policies of its organization to the internal and external publics, so as to make them know such policies.

PUBLIC RELATION PRACTICE IN GOVERNMENT

Public relations in government in brief, is the concerted efforts of the government officials to establish appropriate and effective communication system that enables them to produce, project and sustain government’s goals, aspirations, programmes, activities and policies to reach the ultimate beneficiaries of the programmes, in most cases, the community. Public relations is employed in various ways to help the government to establish mutual lines of communication for faithful exchange of ideas and perspectives between it and the governed and also, to create image for the government, both locally and internationally . p.1). Nwosu (1996,p.204) says that: Whether military or civilian, government must have the support and acceptance of the citizenry to be effective and to even survive for a reasonable period. In theory and in practice, every government derives its legitimacy or rights to govern from the people or citizens. In a true democracy, government is voted in by the people to hold power, influence and control on behalf of the collectivity, of the masses or citizenry.

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