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Background of Study

In the past five to six years or more, terrorism has continued to assume more complex and worrisome dimension, not only in Nigeria but
across the globe.

This trend has posed serious threat to the security of lives and properties. Acholonu (2012) argues that the prevalence of
terrorism across the globe are indicators of global danger. The incidences of terrorism indicate that the world today is growing more
insecure for humans.
Afowowe (2012) opines that terrorism has continued to claim the lives of millions and destroys property worth billions. Ofomegbe and
Orittesesan (2012) describe terrorism as activities that involve the use of violent acts with the intention to create fear (terror) in the society.

It is perpetrated to achieve a religious, political or ideological goal or objective. The use of violence to create fear is usually targeted at noncombat or military personnel, who are civilians and mostly aected by terrorism .

Throughout human
history, there have been countless threats to the security of human lives. In recent time, these threats have continued to lead to destruction
of human life and properties, while the society incurs devastating loss.
While all this takes place, the mass media which include newspapers have been described to be eective in carrying out campaigns and
public awareness to assist members of the society to confront problems which aect their societal life and existence.

Asemah (2011) avers
that newspaper as an arm of the mass media play indispensable roles in the society in this direction as it serves as agent of tremendous
change with strong influence on human activities. The influence of newspapers cut across economics, politics, health and education. In
March 28, 2018, the Punch Newspaper on pg. 20, had a Letter to the Editor titled: Dapchi girls’ abduction: Some unanswered questions.

Temofeh (2017) argues that through newspaper reports on acts of terrorism, members of the society have been kept abreast of the activities
of the terrorists. In Guardian Newspaper report in March 8, 2018, the news story on pg. 5, titled: Why insurgency may not end soon, by
Fayose, is a good example to illustrate how newspaper reports on acts of terrorism, provide information on terrorism to the audience.

Acholonu (2012) observes that while terrorism is becoming a common occurrence across the globe, mass media channels such as the
newspapers are responsible for bringing the activities and objectives of terrorists to the attention of members of the society. For instance, In
March 7, 2018, the Punch Newspaper on pg. 40, had a news story titled: Boko Haram no longer a serious fighting force, says
Buhari. Newspapers serve the role of watch dogs in the society and are considered major stake holders in bringing about positive change
and value re-orientation among the members of the society. Through newspaper reports, information, knowledge or ideas are enhanced in
the society.

These reports also transmit information and ideas which counter the objectives of terrorists in the society as the roles of the
newspapers in the society include; formation of conscience, advocacy and mobilisation. The Punch Newspaper in March 7, 2018, had a
Letter to the Editor on pg. 18, titled Solution to Nigeria’s security challenges.
Information disseminated through newspaper reports have the capacity to foster social change and helped further the agenda of those who
share similar goals with it.

Anaeto, Solo-Anaeto and Tejumaiye (2009) and Imoh (2007) argue that newspapers are relevant to the society in
the sense that they inform the public by supplying facts, opinions, statistics, photos and illustrations on issues, events or phenomenon that
aect the society.

Newspapers have the capacity to educate, members of the society on issues that threaten their social existence, by going
beyond the basic facts to in-depth analysis through opinions pieces, feature stories, columns and editorials. Through all these, newspapers
provide records of human activities ( resources-material-2/)and events in the society. A good example to illustrate the provide records of human activities and events in the
society, is the Guardian Newspaper features article in March 8, 2018, pg. 45, titled: How insecurity is ruining education in Nigeria.

Acholonu (2012) argues that through newspapers reports and coverage on terrorism, people’s opinions and feelings on terrorism are
shaped and influenced in the society. Newspapers relay techniques and experiences which enable members of society better appraise their
own social conditions as humans.

Ahuja (1997) cited in Tejumaiye and Adelabu (2007) opines that newspapers exert credible influence in
the formation of consciousness and concerted action against problems confronting the society. Newspapers provide information to
members of the society and the more information members of the society get from the newspapers, the more they interested they become
in the issues being reported.

Temofeh (2017) avers that the newspapers also play the role of agenda setting in their coverage of acts of terrorism. This clearly explains
that through newspapers coverage on terrorism members of the society can be directed on how to handle the issues relating to terrorism. A
typical example that better illustrate the agenda setting role of the newspapers in reporting acts of terrorism is: a news story in the Guardian
Newspaper in April 7, 2018, where a report mon p.6, was captured: Okoh Kicks Against Amnesty for Boko Haram Member.

In several other instances, newspapers have fallen short of its role as watchdogs in the society. Tejumaiye and Adelabu (2011) aver:
While it is hard to conclude their positive contributions outweigh their negative ones and vice-versa, many internal and external
problems have plagued the Nigerian mass media including newspapers. The problems range from: harsh economic environment, harsh
political and social environment, intimidation, assassination, closure harassment, outright ban, low professionalism, poor remuneration
system, unfriendly legal environment, ownership manipulations, incompetence, and poor adherence to professional ethics and standards.

All of these have contributed to the almost lack of purpose for the Nigerian mass media. For instance, the government owned mass media is
premised on not biting the fingers that feed them… many private stations that are supposed to be critical and unbiased in their views have
been compromised by ownership influence and sectional interests.
In such moments, newspapers have been accused to serve the interests of their sponsors and advertisers with little or no concern for the
public interests, as the quest to make profit or serve the hidden agenda of a select, which in most cases are top in their scale of preference.
The Guardian Newspaper in March 8, 2018 on pg. 12, had a classical example suggesting how newspaper served the hidden agenda of a
select in their coverage: Nigeria, EU, UNODC Renew Commitments against Terrorism.

Acholonu (2012) notes that newspaper reportage on terrorism exerts considerable influence in either curbing the trend or in encouraging
the acts of terrorism in the society. This is because when mass media channels like the newspapers engage in reporting terrorism, they
perform not only the function of dissemination of information but also a tool to advance the objectives of terrorists.

A good example to
illustrate how the newspapers coverage exerts considerable influence in either curbing the trend or in encouraging the acts of terrorism in
the society is: The Punch Newspaper report in March 8, 2018 pg. 3, where it was reported that: Okah, Nwabueze, bag life imprisonment for
Independence Day bombing.

Having established the considerable influence newspaper reports have in the society, this study seeks to investigate the extent to which
newspapers coverage influence terrorism in Nigeria.

Statement of Problem
Nigerian newspapers wield considerable influence in the society as it serves as channel through which members of the society are
informed, educated, enlightened and mobilized to take part in activities in the society. Newspapers have the power to direct public
attention and chart the way in confronting certain issues. This is evident in the agenda-setting function of the mass media.

Through its coverage, newspapers also perform the status conferral function. As such, newspapers report on terrorism can accord status or
credibility to acts of terror in such fashion where members of the society are either encourage or discourage from supporting such acts.

Over the years, newspapers have proven to have the capacity to create awareness, accelerate information flow and mobilize members of
the society to take part in activities which the newspapers play up before them. Therefore, to what extent has a newspapers report on
terrorism influence Nigerians to either support or join the fight against terrorism?

Objectives of the Study
The main objectives of this study are;

To find out the level of prominence the selected Nigerian Newspapers gave to the terrorism.

To ascertain the magnitude of reportage accorded to stories on terrorism by the newspapers.

To point out the direction on terrorism which were highlighted by the newspapers.

Research Questions
The following questions were formulated for this study:

What level of prominence did the selected Nigerian Newspapers gave to acts of terrorism?

What magnitude of coverage did the newspaper gave to stories on terrorism?

What direction/slant on terrorism was highlighted by the newspapers?

Significance of the Study
The issue raised by this study is of immense benefits to achieving globe security, especially towards achieving the security of lives and
properties across the globe and particularly in Nigeria.

Across the globe, more prominence seems to be accorded to issues on terrorism
especially in countries such as Nigeria where there is upsurge in the acts of terror daily. Newspapers while performing its agenda-setting
role in the society, also serve as platforms or channels through which issues that aect the society are highlighted.

Therefore, the outcome
of this study would be useful to Nigeria as well as the world at large, as state actors across the globe continue to collaborate in finding
common ground to eliminate the monster called terrorism.

This study would be of immense benefit to students of Mass Communication and students of journalism in higher institutions of
learning. It will also benefit mass media organizations in understanding the concept of communicating information that aect the security
of human lives and safeguarding of properties since it is only through newspapers, which are aspects of the mass media, that members of
the society get informed on issues that aect their social living.


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