Why politicians should adopt appropriate media

April 23, 2020
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It is a truism that media of different forms play a huge role in our political system. Politicians and public office holders depend on them to reach the public with myriads of activities and events that will increase the public’s interest in the performance of any government. Depending on the use to which they are put, the media can make or mar any government and may determine the acceptability or otherwise of the leadership.

It has been said that President Muhammadu Buhari won the 2015 presidential election on the social media; that is, he won because of the widespread adoption of the new media technologies through the support he got from the young population. This is in line with the fact that the media is effective and that the impact it has in shaping people’s behaviour is enormous.

It is still expedient however, to state that many politicians have misprioritised the media choice for channelling their messages to the electorate – illiterates, semi illiterates and literates alike. Politicians need to adopt the appropriate media and this should depend on the make-up or characteristics of the targeted electorate

Recently, various media platforms – print, broadcast and social media were flooded with messages on distribution of palliatives to the ‘vulnerable’ people. This, to the politicians and those planning to join politics, is aimed at cushioning the effect of the corona-virus pandemic on the people. Other non-politicians and philanthropists have also followed suit significantly through giving of palliatives to the poor and the vulnerable.

A discussion with an expert on media selection by politicians, especially by the caretaker chairmen of the local governments and local council development areas in Oyo State, reveal what most people already know; some of the council chairmen and politicians, out of ignorance,  think that the social media platforms reach a larger population than the others. Though this is not absolutely wrong, the import of this piece is to stress that the traditional media of radio, newspaper and television are very potent tools in reaching the public, especially the less educated. Even  though the so called poor citizens who, in reality cannot afford to buy copies of newspapers some of the news stories published in the newspapers, are often times, reviewed on radio and television and the stories get widely circulated in the end. To the less educated segment of the society, especially in the rural areas, I wonder how any message on the social media platforms reach them.

The traditional media is the best in reaching the less educated and illiterates in the society. The educated people who read online contents may not really be persuaded by the messages on the internet. Many of them would have already formed their opinions or made their decisions before reading the contents.

Suffice to add that the percentage of the voters who are illiterates is higher than those of the educated ones who can make use of the online communications. Therefore, appropriate media should be adopted to channel messages to specific audience.

Sunday Adepoju,

Oyo state

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