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Role Of Mass Media On The Fight Against Kidnapping In Nigeria

Abstract

The main objective of this study was to find out the role of mass media in the fight against kidnapping in Nigeria. It is a study on the anti-corruption crusade in preventing and reducing crimes especially kidnapping related crimes among residents in south east Nigeria. In other to judiciously carry out this research, the researcher looked at public awareness of mass media and their anti-kidnapping campaigns, public attitude towards the campaigns, content quality of the campaigns, objectivity and reliability levels of the campaigns, factors affecting the campaigns and possible ways to improve them. The study was backed up by agenda setting theory. The findings of the study show that even though the public are aware of the Mass media anti-kidnapping campaign, they have not been successful in preventing or reducing crimes in Nigeria because of poor content quality, limited outreach, lack of interest and so much more. The recommendations are that the government should spread out their campaigns to other means of communication, especially the radio. The contents of the campaigns should also be repackaged to satisfy the taste of viewers and listeners.

 

 

Table of content

Abstract

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background To The Study

1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

1.3 OBJECTIVES OF STUDY

1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

1.6 SCOPE/LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

CHAPTER TWO

LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

Theoretical explanation

Mass media, crime fighting and security in Nigeria

Insecurity in Nigeria: An overview

CHAPTER THREE

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Research design

3.3 Sources of Data

3.4 Population of the study

3.5 Sample size determination

3.8 Instrumentation

3.9 Reliability

3.10 Validity

3.11 Method of Data Collection

3.12 Method of Data Analysis

3.13 Ethical consideration

CHAPTER FOUR

PRESENTATION OF DATA AND ANALYSIS

4.1`DATA PRESENTATION

SECTION B: ANSWERING RESARCH QUESTIONS

CHAPTER FIVE

DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1 Discussion Of Findings

5.2 CONCLUSION

5.3 RECOMMENDATIONS

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background To The Study

Everyday in the news, local, national and international media, crime stories splash the front covers of newspapers and make big stories in the broadcast media.

According to Agba (2007), crime is everywhere, even in our families, but the most gruesome and outrageous are the ones which shed blood of large number of people, render people poor and homeless, tarnish the image of a country, clan or group and make people afraid of their dwelling places. Shoener Nicole (2012) identified four major types of crime as personal crimes, property crimes, inchoate crimes and statutory crimes.

Nigeria is one of the African countries that have been greatly affected by the growing rate of crimes in Nigeria. The rate at which violent crimes occur in Nigeria is becoming alarming. The number of people affected by these crimes are many and the impacts disastrous (Okechukwu, 2011, para 18). The most common kind of crimes in Nigeria are kidnapping, armed robbery, pick-pocketing, and the notorous Boko Haram kidnapping.

Due to the devastating impacts of the rising crime in Nigeria, the government over the years has continued to derive strategies that would help to control and eradicate crimes in Nigeria. The use of mass media campaigns is one of those strategies. Through radio, television and internet, the government has been to create programmes and campaigns that have helped to create security consciousness in the minds of the people. These campaign messages are spread round the country to encourage people to report crimes issues in their areas and how to behave when criminals are perceived in the neighbourhood.

For instance, December 2015, the Federal government of Nigeria launched a national security campaign as part of its effort to fight against kidnapping. The campaign was distributed to major television stations in Nigeria such as AIT and NTA. The campaign was specifically concerned with appealing to residents of Nigeria to team up with security agencies in the fight against insurgency saying the worst was over and the country was already on a path of reconstruction and rehabilitation. (Scan news, December, 2015). This is apparently why the third President of the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson, while underscoring the importance of the press in the society in one of his speeches stated: “…. Were it left for me to choose whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without government, I shall not hesitate a moment to choose the latter” (cited in Mustapha and Abudulbaqui, 2012, p. 130). Similarly, President De-Gaulle of France once asked President John F. Kennedy of US; “How can you control your country if you do not control television?” (cited in Orhewere and Kur, 2004 p. 58). These assertions further underscore the pertinence of the mass media in any society. Governance in itself is communication based. The mass media facilitate the two-way communication process essential in bridging the gap between government and the governed, including the very essential role of ensuring that the basic values and tenets that keep a society together are promoted among the populace.

In the just concluded Nigerian Presidential elections, the media transmitted information on minute to minute happenings in the elections and campaigns. The transmission of information was so massive coupled with the fact that the youths especially carry their handsets everywhere and even send information to the media houses. This was seen in channels TV as information sent in by the citizenry was published and brought to the knowledge of Nigerians.

Kidnapping hit Nigeria with shock as the media brought to the knowledge of Nigerians the BokoHaram incessant attack in the North East of  Nigeria. Nigerians are glued to media report as no one can actually tell what is happening where,when,and how it will happen.Bomb blasts have become a regular occurrence. And seeing that there is much dependence on the media for information,it then appears that the manner in which information are reported will go a long way to effect changes in areas that require such especially in curbing the recent menace of terrorist attacks by the Boko-haram terrorist group in Nigeria. In this study, the media is seen as an influentialbody,and watchdog of the public interest. The Nigerian media being imbued with that consciousness in its tradition of being outspoken carry’s such responsibility of making change in the society.Some scholars have attempted to x-ray this, but have not been able to draw out if the media has played a significant role to curb kidnapping in Nigeria.

This paper will seek to answer, what is the role of the media?What are the constraints of the media?How influential has the media being in curbing kidnapping?The objective of the study is toexamine the role of the media in Nigeria,it will seek to know the constraints of the media in carrying out its functions, and to know how influential it has being in curbing kidnapping in Nigeria.

In Ayo Olukoyuns article (2004),he quotes Oseni(1995) that the media is charged with the role of holding governments accountable and guarding against the abuse of power, hence the need to raise countervailing structures of surveillanceto monitorgovernment’s activities and stem an inherent disposition towards excess. Kidnapping disorganized

America’s sense of invulnerability and unparalleled might on a sunny September morning. Almost overnight, the American landscape went from one of prosperity, safety, and power to one of threat, fear, and uncertainty.This was the same case with Nigeria,when to the disheartening of all bombs were going up killing innocent people. (Channels T.V, 2013)The worst happened when the Chibok girls were abducted,and till date their recovery has become a herculean task. The media swung into action immediately giving a run-down of events.This greatly seemed to check the rate at which the attacks occurred as the media disseminated information on the mode of operation of these terrorists. Threat and fear are not simply a psychological phenomena they are politically consequential for how elites and the mass media communicate with the public and, ultimately, for opinion formation. In times of crisis, citizens turn to political leaders and the media to make sense of new and frightening events. The contours of the information environment in turn influence how people prefer the government to react to threat or terror. Shana Kushner Gadarian (2010) posits that several scholars have variously described the mass media as gadgets used to effect mass communication. For example, Defleur and  Dennis(1981) define the mass media as “devices for moving messages across distance or time to accomplish mass communication.” The issue of application of the term “mass media” to technical devices is crucial to the understanding of the concept. Throughout the world, the issue of mass communication that is, the act of sending or transmitting information from a source to a far-flung heterogeneous mass audience through an electronic means is used. Little wonder why Bittner (1989) says, “Mass communication is message communicated through mass medium to large group of people”. According to Biagi (2003), “mass communication is communication from one person or group of persons through a transmitting device (a medium) to large audiences or markets”. Sambe (2005) expressively points out that: Mass communication can be defined as a device by which a group of people working together transmits information to a large heterogeneous and anonymous audience simultaneously. It is a process by which information originates from the source to the receiver, having been thoroughly filtered and transmitted through a channel. In synergy with definitions above, among several others, as put forward by communication scholars, it is obvious that mass communication (media) cannot take place except with the availability of devices such as transmitter, television, and other gadgets to serve as medium, channel, among others. A large number of people as noted in the assertions above has always utilized these medium of mass communication, in receiving information. It can be seen that all the definitions given have some things in common that is, transmitting message via a medium to large groups of different people simultaneously. (Utulu, 2012).

1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

Despite the recurrent attempts by the Nigerian Security Agencies to tackle kidnapping in Nigeria through the use of media campaigns in National Television Authority (AIT), Channels TV, African Independent Television (AIT) and other numerous broadcast stations, kidnappers, Boko Haramists, armed robbers, rapists, fraudsters, impersonators, embezzlers, murderers, manslaughters and prostitutes still roam the streets of Nigeria and are highly successful in what they do. According to Okpara (2010), the Nigerian media have failed to produce effective and efficient messages that would help control kidnapping and restore peace in Nigeria.

This problem pushes the mind into retrospection about the purpose and nature of these media campaigns. Does it mean that people don’t watch these campaigns and if they do, do they abide by the instructions provided in the campign as they go about their activities? Do they believe in the promises the agencies make about mobile helpline calls and immediate attention during crisis? Are the campaign promises reliable, that is, do they think the campaign motives are objective and realistic?

Additionally, how do viewers perceive the timing and packaging of these campaign messages, especially in the aspects of how rich or poor the campaigns are, in conjunction with the most suitable media for the carriage of these campaign messages.

Besides, what are the factors contributing to the ineffectiveness of these campaign messages, could it be as a result of lack of funding or poor outreach? Are there other factors? Moreover, what are the possible ways the publics think these campaign messages can be restructured to enable them achieve their purpose?

The answers to these questions form the major objectives of this study and it is expected that they would help to tackle this problem already identified by researchers.

1.3 OBJECTIVES OF STUDY

The major objective of this study is to find out the role of media in fighting and preventing crimes especially kidnapping in Nigeria. This main objective is broken down into the following objectives:

  1. To ascertain the extent of public awareness of Mass media campaign messages
  2. To find the public’s attitude towards Mass campaign messages
  3. To determine the objectivity and reliability of Mass campaign messages
  4. To find out the content quality of Mass campaign messages
  5. To find out the factors affecting the effectiveness of Mass campaign messages

1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

  1. What is the extent of public awareness of Mass media campaign messages?
  2. What is the public attitude towards Mass media campaign messages?
  3. What are the objectivity and reliability levels of Mass media campaign messages?
  4. What is the content quality of Mass media campaign messages?
  5. What are the factors affecting the effectiveness of Mass media campaign messages?

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The findings of the study would be significant in several ways.

  1. It would serve as a reference material both for students and other researchers, who may have need for information and documentations on this area of academic study.
  2. The findings would also be helpful to other media organizations in their presentation of crime and kidnapping cases in particular
  3. The findings would also offer the citizens the opportunity to air their views on the way and manner media organizations crime cases around them.

1.6 SCOPE/LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

This study on the role of mass media in the fight against kidnapping in Nigeria. It is a study on the anti-corruption crusade in preventing and reducing crimes especially kidnapping related crimes among residents in south east Nigeria.  The study was limited by lack of adequate funding, time constraint and other factors.

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