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THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA IN THE CRUSADE AGAINST RELIGIOUS CRISIS IN NIGERIA: A CONTENT ANALYSIS OF TWO NATIONAL DAILIES (THE GUARDIAN AND VANGUARD NEWSPAPERS).

Project topic for Mass Communication department.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Since the primordial time, the major concern of man has been self perseverance. He desires above all things, security, that is a feeling of well being, contentment and being at peace with nature.

However, the elusive nature of these values made complex by the uncertainty of life, has motivated man into perpetual search for reassurance from the supernatural. This is the idea of religion. And many religions have sprung up since man existence on earth.

Worthy of note here is that, religion is influenced by that which influences the society. In other words, (Nwokoro 1998) asserts that like other aspect of human existence, religion is born out of man’s interaction with his environment. Hence, religion is not immersed from the natural problem of man’s interaction.

Like all other forms of interaction which becomes smooth and progressive at one time while at other time, could be troublesome, volatile, and very destructive, religions principles and practices are not exclusive of this. It has shown that there are lots where the principles and practices of different religion appear very smooth. At the other time, the controversies have made itself so glaring, leading to severe unrest.

It is however, pertinent to note that religious intorlerance could only be explained when one understands the differences in the interpretation of concept or principles of religion and worship by various sects or groups.

According to (Eze 2002) in Islamic religion, there is only one God who is called Allah. According to him the life of every Muslim is governed by three authorities. The Quar’an, the Haddit and the Shariah.

 The Quar’an is the Holy Book of Islam which they believe to have been revealed to Prophet Mohammed (The founder of Islamic religion) by Angel Gabriel. The Haddit or Sunnah is the record of sayings and actions of the Prophet Mohammed. The Shariah (or cannon law) regulates a Muslim’s sense of living, based on Quara’nic principles and stipulations.

Islam involves five principal obligations and five basic belief (Obinze 1999).

The five basic beliefs include the following:

Belief in Angle

Belief in one God

Belief in many prophets but one massage. Adam was the first; others include Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammed (the seal of prophets).

Belief in judgment day

Belief in God’s Omniscience (prior knowledge and determiner of all events)

On the other hands, the five principal obligations or observance of a Moslem are as follows:

Frequent repetition if the creed (no God but Allah, Mohammed is the messenger of Allah).

Saying of prayers (Salat) towards Mecca five times a day.

Charity. The obligation of giving a percentage of one’s income.

Fasting, especially during the month long celebration of Ramadan.

Going to pilgrimage, in which case every male Moslem is required (at least once in a life time) to make a journey to Mecca. Only illness and poverty are life excuses.

In contrast to Islamic belief the Christian believe in one God, Jesus Christ (whose death on the cross salvaged mankind from eternal damnation) and the Holy Ghost (the Spirit of God, released by Jesus Christ). Contrary to the Islamic religion which believes Jesus to be one of the many prophets of God, Jesus, according to Christian faith, believes Jesus is the son of God, and not just a prophet. The Christians also believe in the Bible (the holy book) as well as life after death. They are equally very strong in their practice of justices and fair play.

            The Holy Bible which is regarded as the corner stone of Christian religion, consist of the 39 books of the scripture, called the Old Testament and the 27 books of the Greek scripture called the New Testament. Thus, the Bible is a Miniature library of 66 book written by 40 men in the course of over 2,000 years of history (Iyamu 2000).

            It is important to note here that while the Christians are usually calm and diplomatic in their interaction with the members of other religion and while trying to convert other non Christian believers into Christian faith, the Moslem are usually more fanatical. Worthy of note here is the fact that the Moslem uses forceful and violence means to convert non believers (infidel) into their religion. This practice is known to them as Jihad. During this Jihad, the Moslem believes, according to Quaranic injection, that to kill a non believer (infidel) will help them make a better place in heaven. (Mgbo 2001) believes that the varieties in religious interpretation often lead to religious conflict on many occasions.

            Adeyanji (2001) reported that religious division and differences in Nigeria which are predicted on historical antecedents have great potentials for religious intolerance, rivalry and outrageous situation which it creates in Nigeria is very obvious. This danger is real and had in several cases erupted into actual killing, burning and looting the properties of religious opponents. The Minna uprising in 1980, the Kano riots in 1982, 1984, 1985, the Ok riot of 1986, the Bauchi riot of 1991 and the Kano and Kaduna riots of 2000. the latest Jos Crisis of 2008 till date and the Boko Har’am crisis in Maiduguri 2009/2010 are the testimonies of the extent of damage religious conflict can cause in a society where differences in religious belief are treated with much carelessness.

            The difficult relationship existing between Christian orthodox Christians and the Pentecostals cannot be ignored. For example, the “weekend Times” of January  18, 1997: p6) reported the move by national restoration movement (an organization of Pentecostal church leaders) to worn some leaders of the orthodox churches to be mindful of their utterances in public as they were capable of causing disfavors and feelings that portends an ill-wind that will blow no one any good.

            From the foregoing, it is clear that the practice of each religion in Nigeria has always brought out the worse in us, and each day, the result get worst. It seems therefore that conflict will always attend the practice of religion in the country unless, of course, religious intolerance is outlawed.

            Conversely, the religious adherents must device ways and means of acceptance, peaceful and co-existence for corporate survival.

STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM

Religion had been a vital aspect of the life of mankind form a time immemorial.  However, in Nigeria, the intolerance and misunderstanding among various led sects/groups resulting to unwanted destruction of lives and properties eg Kano riots of the 1980s and the Kaduna and Jos riots of 1990s, the Maiduguri (Boko Har’anm) crisis of 2009/2010 and Jos crisis of 2008 – till date, all can be attributed to religious intolerance.

The occurrences of these religious riots are widely reported in the country’s media; the print and electronic media alike. Peculiarly, the newspaper had equally been used as a tool for exposing the absurdity of such religious uprising. Despite this, religion intolerance and conflict appeared to persist in Nigeria. How the print media especially, the newspaper would be effectively applied in the crusade against religious intolerance in Nigeria in this situation presents the question that necessitated this research.

OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The above being the problem that necessitated this work, the research therefore aims at achieving the following objectives:

To identify the roles of the print media in the crusade against religious intolerance.

To discuss the impact of the print media towards reducing the incidence in religious crisis in Nigeria.

To highlight and appraise the extent of coverage will of religious crisis by Nigerian media.

To suggest the strategies for making the Nigerian print media more effective in terms of crusade against religious uprising in the country.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

This research is guided by the following research questions:

Do religious crisis in Nigeria receive adequate coverage from the media?

Does media report of religious crisis stimulate more crises or instill tolerance among audience?

From what perspective do Nigeria newspapers give their report of religious crisis in Nigeria?

RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS

Hypothesis One:

Ho:       The Nigeria media had not made nay impact in the crusade against religious crisis in Nigeria.

Hi:       The Nigeria media had made positive impact in the crusade against religious crisis in Nigeria.

Hypothesis Two:

Ho:       The activities of the print media had not induced religious tolerance among religious sects in Nigeria.

H2:       The activities of the print media had prompted intern-religious tolerance in Nigeria.

SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY

The findings and recommendation to be made in this research if implemented would benefit all Nigerians in many ways. This is because, it would reduce the occurrence of religious riots in this country and suggest better ways of using the media to reduce religious related crisis.

DEFINITION OF TERMS

The following terms are used in different context to mean differently thing in another context. Hence, they require definitions – The terms are: Media, crisis, Print Media, and Crusade.

Conceptual Definitions

Media: This is conglomeration of channels or medium of mass communication through which massage into (news and information’s) are transmitted to the heterogeneous audience. It includes the electronic Radio, television, the internet, site light, cable transmission, and the print media – Newspapers, Magazine, and Journal etc.

Crisis: According to Oxford Advanced learners Dictionary, Crisis is defined as a time of great danger, difficulty uncertainty.

Print Media: This is a term used to include all the print medium (publications) – Newspapers, Magazines, Journals, Handbills, News letters etc through which mass communication massages can get to the target audience.

Crusade: According to Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, Crusade is defined as a long and determined effort to achieve something you believe to be right or stop something you believe to be wrong.

Operational Definitions

Media: In this research work, the term “the media” refers to both the electronic and print media but, emphasis is laid on the “Newspaper”. So, “the media and “newspaper” will be used interchangeably throughout this work.

Crisis: In this work, crisis is used to represent countless unrest, fighting, destructions of lives and properties which can occur or which we have experienced as a result of continued religious intolerance, mostly between the Moslem and the Christians in Nigeria.

Print Media: In the content of this study, print media, mostly refers to the newspapers especially the once under study, the Guardian and Vanguard Newspapers.

Crusade: Crusade is the deliberate use of the media to curtail the rising religious intolerance and crisis. It is used to represent an attempt to make different religion in Nigeria to seek peaceful co-existence.

1.8       ASSUMPTION FOR THE STUDT

The researcher is carrying out this research work at this time in order to show the impact of the media over religious crisis in the country. Therefore, the researcher assumes that:

1)         With the help of the media, religious crisis will be a thing of the past in Nigeria.

2)         That the media will be used as a tool to fight against religious crisis within the country by embacking on a thorough research in order to find out the cause of the religious problems in the country.

3)       That with the help of this research work; the solution for this entire crisis will be found.

4)         That this work will create a good recommendation that will impact positively in the mind of the citizens of this country in order to stop the issue of religious crisis in the nation, especially the issue of bombing by the Boko-Haram group.

1.9       SCOPE OF STUDY

            This work is limited to Vanguard and Guardian newspapers reports of religious crisis in every part of this country. It did not study the whole publications of these two newspapers from the first publication rather it is limited to a period of seventeen months (17) - October 2008 – April 2010.

1.10     LIMITATION OF STUDY

            The Study was carried out to determine the impact of the media in fighting religious crisis in Nigeria. But due to the diversity of Nigeria media, national daily newspapers were studied.

            Moreover, the study covered content items that have religious inclination in only two national dailies.

            Apart from this, the research was based on careful selection and study of these two dailies within a specified period of October  2010 and April 2010.

            This shows that the entire population – the whole national dailies published in this country was not studied; as a result, the findings (result) of this work could be limited.


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