In order to ensure that Nigerians have more access to information on the government’s developmental policies and programmes, a Don at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Professor Ashong Clifford Ashong, has called for the establishment of one radio station or a newspaper outfit in all the local government areas of the country.
Prof. Ashong of the Department of Communication Arts, made the call while delivering the 83rd inaugural lecture of the University with the theme, “Mainstreaming Development Communication for National Development” held at the permanent site of the university, Nwaniba in Uyo.
He said development communication will only be effective when it is participatory and to make it functional, all local government areas in the country should mandatorily establish a radio station or a community newspaper or both to enable the people in the local communities to keep abreast with government policies.
According to him, such organ, when functional, should devote a good chunk of their programmes to development-related issues which will make it possible for the people to know about the development agenda, clarifying current programmes, projects on hand for the purpose of determining future directions which will also provide avenues for accountability, discourage undesirable behaviour patterns, while popularising commendable actions and mobilising citizens to take up their destinies in their own hand.
He said, “An important aspect of the proposed media firm would be to use local languages or dialects which will help build identity, national consciousness and integration”
“In addition, the staffing of such media organs must be drawn from the immediate environment to ensure that the sensibilities of the locals are catered for and products of the stations or journals are largely relevant to the need and not problems of their host communities”
Professor Ashong explained that Nigerian media as it is currently constituted is inadvertently not inclusive of the vast majority of the people.
He added that technology has made available to every human being a wide variety of channels for aggregation of opinions, arguing that the mass media have not always been utilised fully for the nation’s development needs.
In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, University of Uyo, Professor Nyang Udoh Ndaeyo, congratulated the inaugural lecturer for his insightful proposal and urged the government not to overlook such suggestions for the benefit of the people, which he noted dwelled mostly on the nations information and communication development through cohesion at the grass-root level.
Represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Administration, Professor Enoidem Usoro, said that the inaugural lecture of the University is an educative ritual, undertaken to enable the town and the gown to meet for a better understanding of humanity and its environment.