NEWSPAPER COVERAGE OF THE NIGER DELTA CRISIS: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATELY OWNED NEWSPAPERS IN NIGERIA

AUTHOR:  OBI BOSEDE RITA

DEPARTMENT: MASS COMMUNICATION

AFFILIATION: NNAMDI AZIKIWE UNIVERSITY, AWKA

The study “Newspaper Coverage of the Niger Delta Crisis: A Comparative Analysis of Government and Privately Owned Newspapers in Nigeria” was motivated by the need to check crises in the country as well as proffer solution to resolving the crisis in the Niger Delta region especially as the crisis had taken a rather horrendous dimension in recent years. The media have been said to be at the fore front of the crisis, either escalating or helping to resolve the crisis. The purpose of the study was to find out whether government and privately owned newspapers in Nigeria represented by The Pointer, The Nigerian Observer, The Punch and The Guardian newspapers had given significant coverage to the Niger Delta crisis between January 2006 and December 2009; with reference to frequency of reports, prominence, depth, slant as well as format of presentation. Five research questions were raised and answered. Also, two research hypotheses were formulated and tested. Agenda Setting and Gatekeeping Theories were adopted as the theoretical frame work. The Agenda Setting theory explains the power of the media to set agenda and raise issues of public importance while the Gatekeeping theory is the process through which information is filtered for dissemination. The study employed content analysis as its research method. Systematic sample method was adopted to get the sample size. In all, 836 issues were examined during the study period. The analysis of data showed that the privately owned newspapers, The Punch and The Guardian gave the Niger delta crisis much attention. In the level of prominence given to the crisis, the coverage of the privately owned newspaper fell below expectation. The data analyzed further showed that all the newspapers did not give the crisis the required depth of treatment. A greater percentage of reports by all the newspapers were more of straight news rather than features, opinion articles and editorials. The study recommended that government should divest its media ownership to private bodies to ensure better reporting especially as research has shown that ownership pattern to great extent influenced media coverage. It further recommended that Newspapers in Nigeria, whether government or privately owned, should effectively carry out their social responsibility and agenda setting function by reporting only information that are geared towards resolving rather than escalating crisis amongst others.

TO VIEW THE FULL CONTENT OF THIS DOCUMENT, PLEASE VISIT THE UNIZIK LIBRARY WEBSITE USING THIS LINK, http://naulibrary.org/dglibrary/admin/book_directory/Thesis/11087.pdf

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