1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In the last few years, many viruses have spread over the world, causing devastating diseases. For example, Ebola Virus Disease, Human Papilloma Virus, Asian Bird Flu, and SARS are just a few of the deadly diseases that have claimed the lives of millions of people around the world. Several individuals and families have been rendered disabled by the deaths of their loved ones as a result of these virus infections. Despite the devastation inflicted by several previous health epidemics, none can compare to the present COVID-19 pandemic that is killing the entire world. On February 27th, 2020, Nigeria recorded its first COVID-19 case. Since December 31, 2019, the virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, in Asia has infected millions of individuals worldwide. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (2020) reported 28 802 775 confirmed positive cases of the virus as of September 13, 2020, with 920 931 deaths. The Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, one of the few facilities capable of diagnosing COVID-19 in Nigeria at the time, confirmed Nigeria's index case. Since then, the number of cases in Nigeria has increased, with Lagos serving as the pandemic's epicenter at first. The infection has already spread to other places in Nigeria, including Lokoja (Alagboso and Abubakar, 2020). By the end of September 2020, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had documented 56,017 positive cases, with over a thousand deaths (NCDC, 2020). These figures have greatly improved since then. It is crucial to mention that since the COVID-19 was detected in Nigeria, the government has implemented a number of countermeasures. The Nigerian government and its agencies began a series of health, economic, security, and social reactions as soon as the first case was reported in the country, in order to contain the disease and its social consequences. Borders have been locked, lockdowns have been imposed, interstate movement has been prohibited, and non-essential workplaces, clubs, and services have been closed since March 2020 (Alagboso and Abubakar, 2020). These extreme measures have had a negative impact on the country's government and corporate activity.
The term "mass media" refers to a wide range of media technologies that use mass communication to reach a broad audience. There are a multitude of outlets through which this communication is carried out. Films, radio, recorded music, and television are examples of broadcast media that transfer information electronically.
Surveillance of the environment is one of the media's most important jobs. The media fulfills this role in order to keep society informed and cautious in the face of oncoming hazards that could jeopardize people's overall well-being. The media has a crucial role to play in health promotion. The media is in charge of broadcasting numerous health massages to ensure that the audience lives a healthy lifestyle. The significance of this argument is that the operations of the media to deliver information to individuals as well as communicate government policy instructions to the audience to ensure public safety are at the heart of health promotion. As a result, the media's surveillance duty necessitates that they serve as the public's eyes and ears. The media informs the public and alerts them to the proper course of action in the event of an emergency, so that they are not persuaded by unverifiable information that could harm people's health (Lasswell, 2015). Gever (2015) According to the research, the media has a responsibility to monitor the environment and report to society in order to prevent looming hazards. He goes on to say that the media's surveillance function happens when they (the media) scan society, find looming harmful actions, and make them known to the public via their different programs.
Donohue, Tichenor and Olien (1973) cited in Gever and Ezeah (2020) When they say that knowledge is a vital condiment that people need to make educated judgments in times of crisis, they must have been referring to the mass media's surveillance function. This claim presents a compelling argument for journalists to constantly examine society and deliver relevant and sufficient information to the general audience. The concept of the mass media's surveillance function is credited to Lasswell (2015). In the views of Lasswell, In most cases, the media serves three purposes in society. The environmental surveillance, the correlation of the many components of society in responding to the environment, and the transmission of societal heritage from generation to generation are all examples. It is in view of this fundamental role vested on the media that the current study explores Nigerian media activities in raising public awareness on the Coronavirus Disease in Nigeria. Therefore the study centres on mass media and public awareness on covid19 pandemic in Lokoja metropolis
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Nigeria is attempting to contain the rapid spread of Covid-19, which has resulted in the lockdown of the key epicenters of Lagos, Ogun, Abuja, and a partial lockdown of Lokoja, as well as the country's commercial and administrative hubs, where there has been a rise in coronavirus cases. Some state governors have taken preemptive measures to stop the virus from spreading by sealing their "borders." Other measures include prohibiting mass gatherings of people in churches, sports venues, and burials, as well as nationwide school closures. These achievements can be ascribed not only to adequate healthcare facilities, but also to the role of the media in raising public knowledge about the virus's spread and measures in the country. Not just the government, but also the general public, has turned to mass media platforms for various forms of communication and involvement. Contrary to popular belief, the media is also used as a tool of propaganda in disseminating news and information that is based on assumptions and hypotheses. As a result, rather than increasing awareness, the media has contributed in spreading fake news and instilling fear among the people of Lokoja. Therefore this study centers on mass media and public awareness on covid19 pandemic in Lokoja metropolis.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine mass media and public awareness on covid19 pandemic in Lokoja metropolis. Other specific objectives of the study are:
1) To examine the history of Mass media
2) To examine the impact of mass media on the public awareness of residents in Lokoja metropolis
3) To assess the level of public awareness created by mass media towards the corona virus
4) To examine the relationship between mass media and public awareness of the residents of Lokoja metropolis on cov-19 pandemic
5) To recommend ways and measures in which the mass media can effectively educate the residents of Lokoja on the Covid 19 pandemic
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1) What is the history of Mass Media?
2) What is the impact of mass media on the public awareness of residents in Lokoja Metropolis?
3) What is the level of public awareness created by mass media towards the corona virus?
4) What is the relationship between mass media and public awareness of the residents of Lokoja metropolis on cov-19 pandemic?
5) What are the ways and measures in which the mass media can effectively educate the residents of Lokoja on the Covid 19 pandemic?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
Ho: there is no significant impact of mass media on the public awareness of residents in Lokoja Metropolis
H1: there is a significant impact of mass media on the public awareness of residents in Lokoja Metropolis
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study would enable the researcher to pass their experience on the subject matter to media houses, health personnel’s , schools (students) to serve as a medium for further research
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study would cover the mass media and public awareness on cov-19 pandemic in lokoja. The study would encompass residents of lokoja metropolis
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The researcher was faced with the following constraints in carrying out this study:
Time: The time within the researcher is too short to carry on the detail study on this topic.
Resources: Another constraint of the researcher is financial resources to carry on the detail study of this topic.
Data: Another limitation to this study will be lack of data to make valid study on the research problem.
1.9 OPREATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
COVID 19: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. Most people who fall sick with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without special treatment.
MASS MEDIA: Mass media refers to a diverse array of media technologies that reach a large audience via mass communication. The technologies through which this communication takes place include a variety of outlets. Broadcast media transmit information electronically via media such as films, radio, recorded music, or television
PUBLIC AWARENESS: Public awareness of science, public understanding of science, or more recently, public engagement with science and technology are terms relating to the attitudes, behaviors, opinions, and activities
METROPOLIS: the chief or capital city of a country, state, or region.
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