1.1 Background to the Study
The term newspaper advertising refers to publicity made in the form of paper, newsprint on a daily or weekly basis. It also refers to a serial publication containing news and other informative articles. It is usually printed on relatively inexpensive, low-grade paper such as newsprint. The news organizations that publishnewspapers are themselves often metonymically callednewspapers. According to Udeze and Akpan(2013), newspaper advertising seeks to persuade audience, inform, educate, entertain, enlighten and mobilize the public. This is why the government and other private bodies give so much attention to it. The ability of newspapers to also mobilize people and make them behave in a given manner and to perform certain actions made it a tool in the hands of the government or political parties. The medium serves as an intermediary between the government, political parties and the people because it assist the government in getting plans and policies across to the citizens and in return gets their response, feelings and plight.
For any democratic system to thrive, it is vital that political parties and candidates provide the electorates with adequate information on party policies, clear cut visions as well as their political agendas to enable electorates actively choose their candidate based on adequate information. To achieve this, political parties use the media in campaign advertisement and the media assists voters to make an informed choice at election time. This is done in form of paid political advertising, social media campaigns, commentaries and news stories. For an election to be considered free and fair, electorates must have adequate knowledge of the candidates, political parties and their election policies. It thus implies that the media plays a significant role in this process and the forum provided by them during the election days become an important platform to present political ideologies by different parties.
Elections are considered to be the primary and important part of democracy. The elections in democratic societies demand that public should have an opportunity to choose the representatives and parties according to their free will in that election is the central instrument for the exercise of the sovereignty of the nation as well as quality measurement of the society (Yaser, Nawaz, Mashud, Chaudhry &Amhead, 2011). The print media particularly the medium of newspapers advertising has been a major source of information dissemination over the years in this regard and also a major means of political mobilization in Nigeria.
There are various political strategies that contestant employees to emerge as their party’s candidate before ultimately contesting against candidates from other parties in a general election. These political strategies includes lobbying, personal contacts, political rallies and campaign, however these strategies have now become less effective for mobilizing support and voters for election (Olujide, Adeyemi&Gbadeyan, 2011). The case of the 2015 general election in Delta State exemplifies a situation that different political parties made extensive use of newspapers advertising to sell their different political views and candidates to the electorates. The implication of the above statement is that political parties may have had their chances enhanced through advertising messages. It is in the light of the above that this study examined the perception of gubernatorial newspapers advertisement in the 2015 election by the electorate of Oleh metropolis in Delta State.