The role of the media, particularly, television in advancing national integration is pivotal. Television has become a very important and an effective medium of mass communication since its invention. Its synchronous transmission of audio and visual signals enables it to excert enormous influence on the society, thus, commanding credibility and attention than other media as Radio, Newspaper, Magazine etc.
Television has become a nerve linking the society and its activities together. This is because it performs the role of integration which is of particular importance in contemporary times in which ethnic, religions, politics and other diversities are being brought together into a global village. The media provides messages which people from different groups and nations require in order to know; understand and appreciate each other. Moreover, television creates awareness of different life styles in a society. In doing this, emphasis is placed on similarities in life style, which is beneficial to developing nations like Nigeria where “loyalties rarely extend beyond the village, tribe or religion” and where integration is usually seen as an identification with the larger whole, that is, the state.
This, in assessing the role of television in advancing national integration, it should be noted that, the media (Television) inform every stratum of the society about the dangers of lack of unity amongst the different people of a community or nation state through the creation of sense of identification and the propagation of common cultural values. In Nigeria, for instance, NTA stations in different states of the Federation exchange programmes about their peoples’ ways of life, this could be seen as an attempt at National integration. By watching such programmes, people of one state can get to understand and appreciate the pattern of life, view point and aspirations of other Nigerians in other states. Such as understanding could minimize or even eliminate fear and ethnocentrism which usually form the basis of the mistrust which divide people along cultural, religious and other liens/diversities.
For a developing country like Nigeria to achieve true national integration and unity, the role of the media especially television must be unearthed and emphasized. National integration is a multi-faceted or rather a multi-sectoral concept that encompasses all aspects of our national, educational, cultural, social, religious, tribal, ethnic, political, economic etc. it therefore connotes the active participation of all. The media enlightens the general public on the desirability for national unity and development. Currant et al (1979) assets that: “the role of the media cannot be overlooked in the development of any society which diverse culture, tribe, group and other affiliations”. He added that: “the media is of great importance in social, cultural, economic and political development of every nation not because they are in better position to serve the particular needs of the people but also because they make it easier for more people to have access to the media and therefore take part in its affairs”.
For the media, particularly television to contribute meaningfully to national integration/unity in facilitating development, it must have a conclusive atmosphere to carry out its traditional function of curtailing the excesses of communities which if left to continue will drail the much needed integration and development. The media needs all the necessary support from both the government and the citizenry to educate people on the need to tolerate one another in the interest of peace and tranquility. Recent events in the Niger- Delta, Jos, Kano, and Bauchi crisis are manifestation of lack of unity amongst the various communities of the nation .Those frictions not only impede social and economic development, but also resulted into loss of lives, maiming of innocent citizens of the areas and destruction of properties.
Thus it is imperative for the media to play a very crucial role in changing these ugly situations. This is only attainable if the press is given a free hand to operate because a free press is the cornerstone of national integrations and development.
1.1 STATEMENT OF GENERAL PROBLEM
National integration is highly instrumental to the development of every nation. Nigeria, though characterized by so many ethnic, religious and cultural diversities cannot be said to be an exception. Thus, there is the problem of lack of understanding amongst the various diversities in the country, which has often resulted into crises. However the mass media, particularly television has come under criticism while performing its role of national integration during such period.
Against this background, this study shall assess the role of television particularly NTA Kaduna in fostering unity in the nation with the goal of engendering peace and harmonious co-existence among the divers groups in the nation.
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVES
This research work is aimed at assessing the television in national integration, considering the fact that television has remain a very powerful instrument of control. It is in view of the above that this study tends to as part of its objectives :
1. Assess NTA Kaduna national integration programmes.
2. Find out viewers perception of NTA Kaduna’s programme, how does this relate to the national integration goal ?
3. Investigate the influence of television message during crises.
4. Find out how television can be used to further enhance unity within the nation’s groups and cultures.
5. To analyses various means through which NTA Kaduna carry out their national integration functions.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
This research work will give insight to those who intend to undertake a similar research. It will also contribute meaningfully to literature both for students and media practitioners and generally in the field of mass communication. This study will also assist and guide NTA Kaduna on how to design and package programmes on national integration. This research is also generally useful since it diversity which is cardinal to sustainable development.