Reporting violence or mediating peace? The Nigerian press and the dilemma of peace building in a democracy

Tsado, Jacob Shaibu (2016) Reporting violence or mediating peace? The Nigerian press and the dilemma of peace building in a democracy. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

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Abstract

This study explores the mediation of ethno-religious conflicts by the press and investigates their potential for escalating or minimising such conflicts. Undertaken in the context of the protracted sectarian conflicts plaguing the Nigerian nation since return to democratic governance in 1999, the study focuses particular attention on the Nigerian press and seeks to locate the press within these conflicts. It addresses the wider debates around the reporting of war and conflict, particularly the contentious issues of the relationship between media and conflict and explores the implications of this relationship on the course of violent intra-state sectarian conflicts. Research on news culture confirms that media representations generally tend to glamorise war, violence and propaganda with negative implications for the resolution of such situations. This has raised critical issues about mainstream journalistic practices in the coverage of violence and scholarly arguments as to whether journalism is a participant or a detached observer in the conflict cycle. This study engages these difficult and much contested issues within the context of emerging alternative strategies for conflict reportage, focusing particular attention on the concept of peace journalism and its applicability to routine journalistic practice. The research utilises a repertoire of quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection, including content analysis, framing and critical discourse analyses and semi-structured interviews. The data collected is interrogated using a theoretical framework that incorporates ideas from ethnicity, media and ethnic conflicts, critical political economy as well as debates about alternative approaches to conflict coverage and reportage. The objective is to understand the intricate relationship between conflict dynamics, conflict analysis and the reportage of ethno-religious conflicts. The research reveals significant flaws in the quality of coverage and with the framing and representational patterns of the conflicts. These flaws are located within the historical development of the Nigerian press, the commercialisation of its operations as well as weak institutional structures. It further engages the context of news production with specific focus on the issues of professionalism, training and media regulation and how these affect content. It argues for the adoption of journalistic practice patterns and styles that will make the press less predisposed to aiding conflict escalation. This has implications for both teaching and research in the field as well as for news practices by the press.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: I should acknowledge, as of first importance, my Heavenly Father, the author and finisher of my faith, and the One who has enabled me to successfully undertake doctoral studies, with all the excitements and challenges this endeavour represents. Truly, “my times are in your hands” (Psalm 31: 15), the most secure place anything ever could be. In undertaking this research, I have been blessed with numerous persons and institutions that have supported me and for which I am immensely grateful. Of persons, I must mention my dad and mum who believe so much in me, and who have been my chief supporters in life. Thank you, Ndagi and Maimuna, for being there for me. I also wish to thank my siblings, relatives, friends and colleagues, to whom I must devote a whole chapter should I attempt the impossible task of enumerating them here. However, let me thank Mr. and Mrs. Sam Sheshi (Ya Sam), Mrs Lois Ndagi (Abu) and Ben Tsado, among numerous others, for their special role in my life. I must also mention Arch Bishop Emmanuel Egbunu (Emmy), my friend and pastor; Bishop Foreman Nedison, Rev Maaji Mutah Madu and Pastor Tony Wastall, as well as Dr. Paul Temile and Rev Tim Olonade for their abiding friendship and support. I similarly thank the Prison Fellowship Nigeria family, particularly my friend, Barrister Ben Iwuagwu, the Executive Director. Of institutions, I must clearly acknowledge the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, Nigeria, which has nurtured me and supported me to undertake this course. I am grateful to the management, staff, and colleagues at NIPSS for their encouragement. I should thank particularly Prof Danfulani Ahmed, who as Director General approved my initial study leave. I am also greatly indebted to the immediate past Director-General, Prof Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, OFR, and the Ag. Director General, Mr. Jonathan M. Juma, mni, for their consistent support and abiding faith in my ability. I am grateful to other colleagues and personalities at NIPSS, particularly Prof Habu Galadima, current Director of Research, Dr. Musa Emmanuel Umar, Brigadier-General AD Chinoko, mni, Osime Samuel, Aishatu Wetle, Florence Adigun, Pastor (Mrs.) Asabe Ebeye, Ngozi Okoye, Atiku Shidawa, Ishaya Turah, Prof Funmi Para-Mallam, mni, Prof Mike Maduagwu, and others for their kind support and friendship. iv Let me also thank the Birmingham City University for providing a great learning environment for me, and particularly for giving me such great people as Dr. Ayo Oyeleye and Dr. Oliver Carter as my supervisors. I owe a lot to Ayo who patiently nurtured my research from beginning to end. Oliver Carter who joined my supervisory team later added inestimable value to my studies and piloted it to successful completion. I admire these two gentlemen for their passion, skill and commitment and it has been a rare privilege working with them. I thank other professors and colleagues at the Birmingham School of Media, particularly Prof Tim Wall, Dr. John Mercer and Dr. Yemisi Akinbobola for their proactive guidance and support. Finally, and most importantly, I wish to appreciate Marie Ayitsa, my wife, partner and friend, for her love, affection and support. Thanks Nyami for being there for me always. My life has never been the same since I set eyes on Marie. I also thank our precious children, Yetu, Mana, Yebo, Esha and Cinny who have meant so much to me. Indeed, this journey would never have been possible, or even worthwhile, without the support of my wife and kids, to whom I joyfully dedicate this work.
Subjects: P300 Media studies
P500 Journalism
T500 African studies
Divisions: REF UoA Output Collections > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Kip Darling
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2019 11:24
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2019 11:24
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7215

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