THE ROLE OF RADIO IN CURBING THE SPREAD OF CORONA VIRUS IN NIGERIA
1.1 Background of the Study
Radio is a mass medium that uses electromagnetic radio waves to transmit information, education, and entertainment to listeners through transmitters and antennas.The portability, convenience, cheap cost, and availability of free signals make radio a very popular medium in both developed and developing countries.Infrastructural problems such as limited power supply, internet availability and costs, make radio hugely popular in Nigeria. Many Nigerians, especially at the grassroots, live far below the global poverty line and cannot afford to buy televisions, laptops or smart phones and hence, resort to radio as a key media source for daily information, education and entertainment. Radio functions not just as a mass medium for disseminating general information and entertainment, but also in particular as a medium for disseminating public health information, as witnessed during the Ebola outbreak in 2014 and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
The Coronavirus (Covid-19) is an infectious disease causes respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe respiratory difficulties. It originated from the Hunan seafood market at Wuhan, China where live bats, snakes, raccoon dogs, wild animals among others were sold in December 2019 (Shereen et al., 2020, pp. 91–98) and was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March 2020 (WHO, 2020). In February 27, 2020. The index case was an Italian construction worker who had returned from Milan to Nigeria. Since February 2020, the number of infections escalated to over 52,000 with over 900 deaths in August. In response to rising infections and deaths, the Nigerian government issued directives for lockdowns and social distancing in the three worst-hit states of Lagos, Ogun, and Abuja, the country’s capital. State governors also issued total or partial lockdowns in their respective regions based on prevailing circumstances. However, lockdowns caused untold hardships for many Nigerians, due to the government’s chaotic and lousy social welfare structures [Adepohu 2020]. The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and The Federal Ministry of Health have been at the forefront of efforts to combat COVID-19 in Nigeria. Both organizations have been active in setting up isolation centers, hospitals, and spaces to manage suspected and confirmed cases. The NCDC has also been engaged in training personnel and setting up rapid-response teams across Nigeria’s 36 states [Ephraim 2020]. However, despite efforts to combat the spread COVID-19, both organizations have been seriously challenged by a particular problem - the spread of misinformation or false information about COVID-19.
Noticeably, the effort of Nigeria government to curb the spread of corona virus would not go far fetched without regular sensitization and awareness on radio and other media tools. The achievement of these feats can be attributed not just to proper healthcare facilities but also to the impacts of radio as a media tool to disseminate information. On this note that these study seek to examine the role of Radio in curbing the spread of Corona Virus.
1.2 Statement of the problem
It goes without saying that the Radio as a media tool plays a critical role in raising public consciousness of current events. However, during this time of global economic crisis, the role of Radio channels should be geared toward improving lifestyles. Thus as a tool to enlighten the masses on the need to practice safe hygiene, compliance to covid-19 safety measures to curtail the spread of the novel corona virus, it is pertinent to examine the role of Radio during this pandemic. It is worthy to note that even while Radio presenters carry out their responsibility they should share hope and not fear or over exaggeration of the pandemic situation as this would have not just a physical impact on the listeners or viewers of such information but also their psychological health is affected. Therefore it is on this note that this study is set to examine the role of the media in curbing the spread of corona virus in Nigeria
1.3 Objective of the Study
This study is set to examine the role of Radio in curbing the spread of Corona Virus. Specifically it is geared:
1. To examine the extent radio broadcast was used in curbing the spread of covid-19
2. To investigate ways in which Radio channels enlightened the people on covid-19 prevention measures.
3. To determine the rate and how far at which Wazobia FM have helped to curb the spread of covid-19
1.4 Significance of the study
This study would be relevant to the general public and also contribute to the body of knowledge. More.so it will be a wake up call for radio station to ensure they educative contents in order to help curb the spread of corona virus. It will also heighten the awareness of Radio users on the need to adhere to safety guidelines advertised on Radio station . The study will enable government and policy makers on the need to monitor content shared on radio station in order to avoid sharing panic related message to the public audience as this is detriment to their disposition and could make them loose confidence on the government efforts towards fighting the novel corona virus.
1.5 Scope of the Study
This study seek to examine the role of Radio in curbing the spread of corona virus using Wazobia FM 95. 1 FM Abuja branch as a case study.
1.6 Research Question
1. To what extent was radio broadcast used in curbing the spread of covid-19?
2. What are the ways in which Radio channels enlightened the people on covid-19 prevention measures?
3. How far has Wazobia FM helped to curb the spread of covid-19?
1.7 LIMITATION OF STUDY Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview). Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
However in the midst above mentioned limitation the researcher devotedly ensured that the purpose of the study was actualized.
1.8 Definition of terms
Role: A role is a set of connected behaviors, rights, obligations, beliefs, and norms as conceptualized by people in a social situation
Radio :Radio is the technology of signaling and communicating using radio waves.They are generated by an electronic device called a transmitter connected to an antenna which radiates the waves, and received by another antenna connected to a radio receiver.
Spread: the development or growth of something so that it covers a larger area or affects a larger number of people
Curb:this is the act or influence of limiting the occurrence of something.stopping the rate at which something happens
Covid-19:Corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is defined as illness caused by a novel corona virus called severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2.