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Title: Reporting terrorism : Boko Haram in the Nigerian press
Author: Uwazuruike, Confidence
ISNI:       0000 0004 7426 2855
Awarding Body: Bournemouth University
Current Institution: Bournemouth University
Date of Award: 2018
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Scores of studies have explored the news media representation of terrorism in the last ten years. Much of this scholarship, however, has been from a western perspective, mostly relating to the international media. This study shifts the focus to the Nigerian press to consider the representation of Boko Haram in its national media. Boko Haram is one of the most violent groups in the world currently and has officially been designated as a terrorist organisation by every major government in the world. The study aims to show how an African press has reported terrorism within its national borders. Through an analysis of 851 news stories from three Nigerian newspapers, the thesis examined the portrayal of Boko Haram focusing on three main aspects: the news framing of Boko Haram in the Nigerian press, the sourcing patterns present in the news reporting of Boko Haram and the challenges Nigerian journalists face in reporting Boko Haram. Semi-structured interviews were used to provide further insights into major trends determined from the analysis of news texts. The study found that the news coverage predominantly focussed on two aspects: government response to Boko Haram and Boko Haram as the other. Boko Haram was also framed, in descending order, as a political conspiracy, as prevailing, and as instilling fear. Ethnicity, regionalism and religious affiliation appeared to be a significant determinant of the reportage, with journalists legitimising violence against the group and failing to promote or explore non-violent approaches. The study also showed that newspapers preferred official sources, especially from the security forces, while other key actors such as Boko Haram received little news space. Religious sources were given priority in most newspapers and used differently, depending on the ethnoreligious leanings of editors. Daily Trust, for instance, showed a significant statistical difference in its preference of Muslim sources over Christian sources. News reports of Boko Haram, thus, were largely presented from a political and ethnoreligious understanding. Alternative narratives like radicalisation were absent likely because of the absence of source groups such as experts who are not interested parties in the conflict. Thematic analysis of journalists’ interviews showed that inadequate funding, safety concerns and ethnoreligious politics were factors contributing to the news trends. The study underlined the need for media training for journalists to foster a more nuanced and conflict-sensitive news coverage in the Nigerian context.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available