The role of the mass media in the development of the economy of the North West Province.
Morule, Rebecca Mmamokele Tebogo
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The government of the Republic of South Africa has been working on developing, improving and transforming its public communication since 1994. This includes the content of mass media messages and programmes. The transformation involves moving from propaganda or government orientated information to educating, informing, entertaining, and possibly developing information. Thus, media organisations are aiming to influence the audience positively by using more educational, developmental and motivating documentaries, articles and programmes in the South African mass media. With the effort from media organisations to maintain a progressive and informed community, the question is, to what extent are they influencing the audience? To what extent is the information developing their audiences? Are their audiences accepting and understanding what the media is intending to offer them? Further questions that need to be addressed include whether the audiences are stimulated by media messages to do something about the state of the economy. What can be done? Is the media intending to play a role in developing the provinces economically? The mass media is employed in several roles, to sell campaigns during elections, promotions, and advertising of products and bringing awareness on issues of importance to the people. There have been social and psychological studies on the influence, effects, and the impact of media on children teenagers and consumers; and the stimulating of social and global change and even behaviour. For example, in terms of behavioural impact by the mass media on youth and people in general, Cantor (2002, 2) says the youth have greater opportunities for desensitisation to media violence than ever before. There are many television channels, so many movies on video, and so many video-computer games, and Internet-based games available, that media-violence aficionados have a virtually limitless supply and can play intensely gruesome games repeatedly, often in the privacy of their own bedrooms. Due to this much exposure, Cantor (2002) concludes that media violence has many unhealthy effects on children and adolescents. So if media can have an effect on behaviour, politics and lifestyle, can it not have an influence on the development of the economy? The method used to answer the research question was analysing of print media, interviewing the SABC Motsweding FM and distribution of questionnaire in the North West Province. The areas included Mahikeng, Rustenburg, Klerksdorp and Potchefstroom. Responses from participants from these areas concluded that the media informs them but not enough on the economy of North West Province. They also highlighted that the language used to report the economy of the province was not understandable. The research concluded that all the sectors that are involved in development of the economy should work with the media to inform the people. In conclusion, the research was to investigate whether media can contribute to the development of the economy in North West Province. The findings were that media do distribute the information; however, the information is not enough, not understandable and to some extent not relevant to the North West Province. In addition, Government being the key driver of economy is not working together with the media to distribute information on available opportunities. The recommendation of the study is that all those involved including the public, government, private companies and the media should work together in the development of the economy. There should be a rotation of information. The information on economy should be thoroughly, disseminated in understandable, language and interesting manner. Furthermore, it is also the public's responsibility to improve their own communities and they should take interest in the matters of the economy starting with information from the media. Community should be proactive and challenge their economic situation. The government should align programmes that encourage economic growth and sustenance and disseminate the programmes to the communities.
- Humanities