AUTHOR: OJO LUCKY IDOWU
DEPARTMENT: MASS COMMUNICATION
AFFILIATION: NNAMDI AZIKIWE UNIVERSITY, AWKA
By January 2009, militancy in the Niger-Delta region had virtually crippled Nigeria’s economy. Investment inflow to the oil industry had dwindled remarkably. Frightened foreign investors had begun redirecting their investment to Angola and Ghana as preferred destinations over Nigeria. Faced with looming collapse of the economy, the federal government offered in 2009, unconditional amnesty to militants’ in the zone who agreed to lay-down their arms. Communication, it has been argued, is at the root of conflict management. Many conflicts result from imperfect communication and could be resolved through improved communication skills. More, the mass media, it is argued, while functioning among and through a nexus of other radiating influences are able to impress ideas, attitudes and actions. Also, the ability of the mass media to effectively mould and sustain public opinion has been a subject of controversy. This study therefore, examined newspapers’ reportage of the 2009 Niger Delta militants’ amnesty programme to find out if the newspapers’ reportage helped to construct public understanding for the amnesty programme and possibly influenced public opinion on the issues. The study adopted content analysis approach as its methodology. The Nation and Vanguard newspapers were purposively selected as sample for the study. The study time frame was six months. The study universe was 368 issues of both newspapers from which 144 editions or 39.13% of the universe were purposively selected as the sample size, at the rate of three editions of each newspaper per week. The study was anchored on the agenda setting theory of the press as a theoretical foundation that provides a deep analysis that suggests a correlation between the importance the news media give to their stories and the one the public attaches to such stories. Some of the major findings were that the selected newspapers gave enough prominence in their reportage to the programme and the story direction were favourable to the government’s position and the amnesty programme. The study therefore recommended among others, that in times of conflicts, news media organizations should respond constructively to the challenges of the society by disseminating information that can foster harmony, unity and national development.
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Tags: Asari Dokubo, Campaign, Canalization, Communication, Conflict Resolution, Conflicts, Correlation, Coverage Dimension, Coverage Direction, Editorial Policy, Editorials, Fourth Estate, Hydrology, Information Dissemination, Mass Communicated News, Mass Communication-Thesis-2012, Militancy, National Development, Newspaper Functions, Niger Delta Mineral Resources, Niger Delta Region, Niger-Delta Crisis, Prominence, Straight New Report, Surveillance, Validity., Willinks Commission