COMPARING THE HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION AND MEDIA FRAMING OF BOKO HARAM INSURGENCY IN NIGERIA BY PUNCH AND LEADERSHIP NEWSPAPERS
The United States of America has predicted that Nigeria is likely to break up by 2015.This prediction is informed by the serious challenges to peace and security in the country. Thesechallenges began before the country got political independence in 1960. Ethnic distrust andintolerance among the three major ethnic groups (Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba) began to manifest atabout the 1940s (Kirk-Greene, 1971; Anyanwu, 1999; Kur, 2012) and have continued with little
or no hope of any meaningful and genuine reconciliation. Across the length and breadth of thecountry, there are serious threats to peace and unity. The Niger Delta disturbances, whichseriously affect the economic fortunes of the country adversely, for now, have assumed the statusof an uneasy calm because the president of the country, GoodluckEbere Jonathan, is from thatregion. As soon as President Jonathan leaves office, it is likely that the disturbances willresurface. This is because, not minding the amnesty programme in place in the area, most of theproblems which gave rise to the disturbances are yet to be addressed. These problems, amongothers, identified by Wilson (2009), include: bad governance, social injustice, environmentaldamage, militarization, lack of social and economic development in the area, lack of self-worth,and lack of participation in the oil industry by the people of the area.
Apart from the Niger Delta disturbances, religious, ethnic, political and other aspects ofcommunal conflicts, some very violent in nature, have become endemic in the country. Of recentis the Boko Haram insurgence which is causing serious rampage and defiling all possiblesolutions, as observed by Agbo (2011, p.48): “Boko Haram is on rampage in the North andgaining notoriety every day because of lack of competent security structure, infrastructure andoperatives, coupled with the underlying political connection.” In addition, threats to thedemocratic process are a serious challenge to sustainable peace and stability. The threats are inthe form of electoral irregularities, insensitive and desperate conduct of politicians,personalization of state power, massive corruption in public and private sectors, absence ofaccountability, executive fiat, tyrannical attitude, bad governance, structural weakness of publicinstitutions, disregard for rule of law, increased deprivations, debilitating poverty, rising publicfrustration, and violation of human rights among others (Kukah, 2007; Akinwale, 2010;Adedayo, 2011; Bayo, 2011; Egbuta, 2011). These threats to peace and stability have seriouslyundermined development efforts in the country.
Boko Haram is an Islamist movement which operated in north-eastern Nigeriaand came to prominence in 2009. It was a fringe group under the leadership ofMallam Mohammed Yusuf, a fiery scholar resident in Maiduguri, who had notfully committed to violence before 2009. Through subtle and open harassment,Boko Haram was goaded into an open confrontation with the Nigerian state andviolently suppressed in July 2009. Thereafter, it went underground, rebuilt, andresurfaced in October 2010 with a remarkable prison break at Bauchi and hassince changed its tactics to targeted assassinations, drive-by shootings, suicidebombings, and massive deployment of improvised explosive devices (IEDs),vehicle-borne IEDs, and, lately, kidnapping and hostage taking.
Framing is an ongoing process, which has effects on the surrounding environments and publics (Benford and Snow, 2000). Framing makes some aspects of an issue more salient in the definition of situations, thus providing context. Moreover, both topic and situation affect how opinions are shared (Hayes, 2007).
Originally, the news media in particular were seen as the instigators of framing. Cohen (1963, p. 13) stated that “The press may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about.” This refers to agenda setting in the media, which has been discussed by many authors (McCombs and Shaw, 1972; Sheafer, 2007; Larcinese, Puglisi and Snyder Jr., 2011). Framing is used in different ways, but generally coverage of issues by the media has an effect on public opinion (Dunaway, Branton and Abrajano, 2010). Journalists make choices in emphasizing issues and in the use of phrases and images, which then influence public perceptions (Nelson, Clawson and Oxley, 1997). The influence of the media, however, goes beyond agenda setting; framing occurs when the particular way in which issues are characterized in the media has an influence on how they are understood by the audience (Scheufele and Tewksbury, 2007).
It is based on this background that this research study on human rights protection and media framing of boko haram insurgency in Nigeria; attempts to carry out a comparative study of punch and leadership newspaper.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The problem under investigation is human rights protection and media framing of boko haram insurgency in Nigeria; a comparative study of punch and leadership newspaper. The problem of boko haram has resulted in infringement into human rights especially in the area of media framing.
Since the beginning of the boko haram activities in the nation, many persons have had their human rights infringed upon one way or the other. In some cases, this infringement can be due to the media framing of the boko haram insurgency the question is; what has the media done in human rights protection.
The specific problem this research study attempts to address is; the media framing of boko haram and the human rights protection by newspapers in Nigeria. Although, special interest would be on a comparism in punch and leadership newspapers.
1.3 Research Question
The following are the formulated research questions for this research study:
- How has human rights been protected by Punch and Leadership newspapers?
- What is the media framing of boko haram insurgency by Punch and Leadership newspapers?
- In what ways are human rights protection and media framing of boko haram insurgency different and similar in Punch and Leadership newspapers?
- How can human rights protection and media framing of boko haram insurgence in Nigerian newspapers be improved?
- Research Objectives
The general research objective of this research study is to compare the human rights protection and media framing of boko haram insurgency in Nigeria by Punch and Leadership newspapers. More specifically, this research study’s objectives are to:
- Investigate how human rights have been protected by Punch and Leadership newspapers in Nigeria.
- Determine the media framing of boko haram insurgency by Punch and Leadership newspapers.
- Compare human rights protection and media framing of boko haram insurgencyin Punch and Leadership newspapers.
- Suggest how human rights protection and media framing of boko haram insurgence in Nigerian newspapers can be improved.
1.5 Significance of the Study
Although various studies had been carried out on the boko haram insurgency and human rights protection, very few researcheshad focused on the media framing. Hence this research study makes a very remarkable contribution by providing both theoretical and practical knowledge to fill in the gap in this area.
This research study will be an essential reference resource to other researchers and can as well motivate further research into the study area.
Newspapers producers, journalists and the general public will also find the detail information in this research study very useful for decision, policy making and other wise.
Moreover, the department of Mass communication in Kaduna state university will benefit majorly from this research study because it will add to the existing resource in the departmental library. The researcher will also benefit from this res