A Content Analysis Of The Punch And Sun Newspapers Reportage Of Crime In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

A Content Analysis Of The Punch And Sun Newspapers Reportage Of Crime In Nigeria


The study newspaper Coverage of Crime reportage is an Analysis that is meant to examine the seriousness accorded to crime reportage by Sun and Punch newspapers. The study adopted Content Analysis method of research. A total of 314 editions were purposively sampled and a coding sheet was used to generate data. The study relied on Agenda-setting theory and media development theory. The findings of the study revealed that crime reportage were given limited coverage by print media in Nigeria. Against this, it was recommended that newspapers related to crime reportage should be established in order to give specialized report on that aspect. Nevertheless, the existing newspapers should endeavor to provide adequate reportage on crime.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Crime is one of the human security problems confronting humanity across the world. Nations have grappled to contain the rising incidence of homicide, armed robbery, and kidnap, drug trafficking, sex trafficking, illegal gun running and host of others. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in 2011 reported that homicides globally were estimated at 468,000 and more than a third (36%) was estimated to have occurred in Africa, 31% in the Americas, 27% in Asia, 5% in Europe and 1% in the tropical Pacific region. According to the report, economic crisis; food insecurity; inflation; and weak or limited rule of law are factors that drive crime. However, the drivers of crime are not restricted to the aforementioned causative factors. In the Americas, more than 25% of homicides are related to “organized crime and the activities of criminal gangs”; the same only true of approximately 5% of homicides in the Asian and European countries for which data are available.

Africa has been on the forefront on global statistics on crime Osawe, (2008). South Africa and Nigeria have recorded high incidents of violent and non-violent crimes in recent times. According to Africa Check, that incidents of murder increased from 15 609 murders in 2011/12 to 16 259 murders in 2012/13 in South Africa, with increase of 650 murder cases or a 4,2% increase when comparing the total numbers of murders with the previous year5. According to the same report, murders and attempted murders that take place during aggravated robbery or inter-group conflict (such as gang or taxi violence), and vigilantism make up between 35% and 45% of all murders and attempted murders6.

Nigeria is currently caught in the web of crime dilemma, manifesting in the convulsive upsurge of both violent and non-violent crimes7. Notable in this regard are the rising incidents of armed robbery, assassination and ransom-driven kidnapping, which are now ravaging the polity like atsunami and spreading a climate of fears and anxieties about public safety8. The upsurge of crime has been ongoing as Nigeria has been on the global crime map since 1980s9. These throes of crime for decades are traceable to poverty, poor parental upbringing, and greed amongst the youth; get rich quick mentality, inadequate crime control model of national security among others.

Events of past few years show that the spate of crime has assumed a debilitating proportion and requires the intervention of policy makers in this regard. According to Osawe, (2008) crime portrays the inability of government to provide a secure and safe environment for lives, properties and the conduct of economic activities considering the alarming increase in criminal activities in Nigeria such as armed robbery, terrorism and other related crimes10. Olanrewaju (2011), avers that crime relates to drug use which has the social consequence on students manifesting in various forms including assassination, kidnapping, kidnapping, lack of interest in education, armed robbery and other criminal offences11. It has been observed that a factor which motivates criminality is that availability of arms in the hands of illegal users, particularly civilians. For instance, Hull et al (2001), posit that the proliferation of arms contributes to conflict in two main ways namely: ‘increasingly lethal firepower is likely to cause higher levels of destruction; and that augmentation of sophisticated weaponry creates a vicious cycle whereby competing militias engage in an arms race to gain dominance in capability.

A Third Report on Violence in Nigeria (2006-2011) by Nigeria Watch Database noted that the second main cause of violence is crime. This is heavily concentrated in the South, especially in highly populated areas like Lagos and Port Harcourt. Yet the Middle Belt is not immune from armed robbery and banditry, especially in Plateau State, which records higher crime rates13. These statistics on the trend and patterns of violent and on-violent crimes are worrisome and needs urgent attention from a multi-dimensional approach by stakeholders involved anti- crime crusade.

Crime as a social phenomenon is fundamental aspect in all human life. Nigeria has thus been referred to as one of the most crime prone nation of the world because of her low social security level and social activities which are criminal in nature. Crime can be seen as an “Internal violation of the criminal law and committed without defense or excuse and penalty by state felony or misdemeanor through judicial proceeding” according to (Toppan, 2004). Toppan view crime from a Legal Perspective Societies defines crime as the branch of one or more rules of laws for which some governing authority or force may ultimately prescribe punishment. Wikipedia/encyclopedia defined crime from the normative perspective which is a deviant behaviour that violates prevailing norms, cultural standard prescribing how human ought to behave normally. The approach views the complex realities surrounding the concept of crime and seek to understand how chaining social, political, psychological and economic condition may affect the current definition or meaning of crime when leads to legal, law enforcement or penal responses by the society or social institution.

Nigeria is obviously experiencing increase in crime rate. In a single edition of our daily Newspaper, television report or radio report many criminal activities are reported which is emanating from the urban. This is due to the emphasis which is placed on urbanization of modernization of cities, towns at the cost of the rural areas leading to rural-urban migration (Dambazau, 2007). This union result has lead to the increase of crime at both sides due to the over strengthening of infrastructure or under utilize infrastructure by the able youths. This in turn leads to economic depreciation, poverty, unemployment and increase of potentials for crime or crime itself.

Nevertheless, Newspaper like other media is primarily a disseminator of information which could be in views formal, editorial, feature report e.t.c. This dissemination of information is about the activities of mankind either on his personal, social life, politics, economy, crime, sport or leisure for the purpose of informing, educating, entertain or enlightenment.

Newspapers as categorized by Nababa Sanda Gusan in a book titled “The Mass Media in Nigeria” are of six classifications. These classifications is in accordance with the time they are put to bed. We have the daily, bi-weekly, forth nightly, monthly and quarterly. The most commonly found newspaper is the daily which is found at the news stand everyday. The bi-weekly is produced twice in a week, the weekly is produced once a week, while the fortnightly is when newspaper is published after every two weeks.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Nigeria newspapers have been reporting crimes over the years. Despite the reportage of crimes by the punch and sun newspapers crimes keep increasing therefore the study is aimed at analyzing reportage of crimes in Nigeria b the punch and sun newspapers and its effectiveness in reducing crimes in Nigeria. The mass media is a vehicle for information and enlightenment in the society

This study looked at how the two selected newspapers Punch and Sun newspaper are fulfilling the functions of the press to the society and to determine how much coverage was given to crime reportage.

Crime reportage between the period of Feb 2016 and Jan 2017, to ascertain the extent to which these newspapers contributed to the certain-up and facilitate the effort of the arm forces and the Nigeria police force in combating crime in Nigeria.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

  1. How newspaper has been reporting crime.
  2. To find the tone of reportage.
  3. To ascertain the story.
  4. To examine the reportage.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What extend has crime eaten dip in Nigeria?
  2. What are the causes of crime in Nigeria?
  3. Are the Punch and Sun newspaper effective in crime reportage in Nigeria?
  4. What are the challenges confronting the Punch and Sun newspaper in crime reportage?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The study will be of immense important to both the Nigerian media and the masses who are of course the media consumers. To that end, the findings of this work will reveal whether the Punch and Sun newspaper have been living up to expectation in the area of crime reporting. This project work will also served as a reference material to other student in related field of study.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The study is narrowed down to the punch and sun newspaper reportage of crime in Nigeria, the period of Feb 2016 and Jan 2017,.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

A number of limitations were encountered by the researcher in the course of carrying out his research. However.

There was a problem of steady flow of finance so as to meet up with the deadline for the submission of this research work.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Summary of Findings

The study was conducted in order to find out press coverage of crime reportage with focus on comparing how the two newspapers selected for the study (Sun and Punch) portray crime reportage. The findings and discussions indicated the following in line with the research questions

  1. There are indications that very few stories on crime published on full pages; thereby much of the reports on crime were published as other sizes, half pages or quarter pages.
  2. Sun was discovered to have significantly portrayed crime reportage from positive angle, while Punch majorly covered the issue from negative perspective.
  3. Comparatively Punch gives more prominence to crime reportage compared to vangaurd newspapers in Nigeria.
  4. The crime issue most emphazied in the selected newspapers are Genital Mutilation, Cancer, Asthma and Infant mortality as they are the crime isssues with higher frequency
  5. The analysis also shows that punch newspaper reported crime reportage as straight news features more than Sun Newspaper.

5.2 Conclusion

As a result of the above discussions, there is clear indication that the two newspapers, Sun and Punch give little coverage to crime reportage, though the focus of the study is an area that need to be given much attention in order to assist policy makers as well as saving the lives of mothers. Instead, other security issues were given more attention.

5.3 Recommendations

  1. In line with the findings of this study, it is recommended that specialized newspapers should be established which will assist policy makers to understand the condition of crime. Similarly, this will help such newspapers to report crime alone.
  2. The newspapers surveyed should place crime reportage on their back pages for quick reader attention as none of them did so in the whole two-year period under review.
  3. The newspapers should devote more full pages to crime reportage, to improve the size of environnmental security issues coverage
  4. The media should also dedicate its resources into the coverage of orientation and security awareness campaign to facilitate the process of security education for the public

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