The Effect Of Broadcast Media Campaign Against Ethno Religious Crisis In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

The Effect Of Broadcast Media Campaign Against Ethno Religious Crisis In Nigeria


The researcher examines the effects of broadcast media campaign against ethno-religious crisis in Nigeria. Considering the long existing problems created by this menace, an audience based research of this nature is imperative. Survey research method was adopted in the research design to elicit reliable opinion from a known sample of the population based on Taro Yamane formula and the 2006 Census Report. The researcher framed five research questionnaires as research instrument to gather unbiased responses from the respondents, while five research questions were framed, five hypotheses were also formulated and tested for reliability, using chi – square statistical formula. The study was anchored on a communication theory – the social responsibility theory as it has relationship with the topic under research. From the findings, it was observed that the broadcast media campaign on ethno-religious crisis has really suffered a setback based on people’s negligence towards the broadcast campaign on this menace. The researcher hereby recommends the following in order to make the electronic media more effective in the war against ethno-religious crises: The government should sponsor programmes on inter religious affairs through the broadcast stations in the country for this will go a long way of reducing religious intolerance.
Secondly, the operators of the electronic media industry should employ competent personnel to manage their affairs especially as they relate to the crusade against ethno-religious crises in the country.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Ethno-religious crisis in Nigeria has been one of the outstanding and disturbing challenges which Nigeria as a country is battling with in recent times.

Nigeria, a country situated in West Africa, has a population of about 167 million (The Forum 2011, P.13). This figure is more than the total population of thirteen neighbouring states in the continent of Africa.

The country is made up of about 300 ethnic groups, some small, some fairly large with English Language as the official national language (Nweke 1994, P. 3). Nigeria as Awolowo (1990, P. 35) put it, has over 250 different languages and dialects spoken within its borders and there is also an important religious split, as the North is primarily Muslims and the South predominantly Christians.

These differences in ethnic and religious split in the country has become a bane in the peace, unity, stability and harmony of Nigeria as an independent country. The character of the Nigerian State is responsible for the country’s deepening ethno-religious crises (Makino 200, P. 12).

This pluralistic nature thus brings about constant feelings of distrust between the component units and the fear of one ethnic or religious group dominating the other is rife. A pattern of largely discernible ethnic suspicion and intrigues that had existed prior to independence has led to military coups in the past, the traumatic civil war, mutual distrust afterwards, the annulment of June 12 election and the incessant ethno-religious skirmishes that are presently threatening the very fabric of our nascent democracy and national unity (Ake 2009, P. 27).

Tordoff (2000, P.2) asserted that ethnocentric politics, sectional solidarity and primordial interests become predominant features in the nation’s political practices. He further stressed that sectional and individual virtues and interests rather than collective virtues and national interest are advanced and exalted. To this effect, communal orientation precluded any attachment to the state and the syndrome of the ‘son of the soil’ took preference over merit and competence in the choice of political leaders (Tordoff 2000, P.4).

By and large, ethno-religious crisis has denied the country national integration. Political instability, disunity and other social and political vices have led to total disfunctioning of all the sectors of the country’s development. Many lives and properties worth billions of naira have been lost as a result of ethno-religious crisis.

Be that as it may, all the security agencies in the country are playing their participatory role to ensure that ethno-religious conflicts come to an end. The mass media being the hub that reaches to the people at any given time is not left behind on issues of ethno-religious crises.

The broadcast media especially the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) is effectively fighting against ethno-religious crisis in the country to fulfil its social responsibility role. The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) has ensured adequate coverage and broadcast of issues centered on ethno-religious crisis. Keeping the people informed on issues of ethno-religious crisis is an indication that the media are performing their watch dog and social responsibility roles effectively (Eze 2008, P.202).

The broadcast media has always been in a round table discussion with the Federal Executive Council of the Federal Government of Nigeria to proffer solutions and ways to fight against the menace of ethno-religious crisis. Media experts and analysts do offer adequate solutions to reduce or eliminate ethno-religious crisis in the country. Journalists are always seen at the fore front when it comes to covering ethno-religious conflict to ensure timely dissemination of information to the people.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The peace and unity of any given nation determine the economic and political development of such a nation (Garver 1999, P.47). Accordingly, Grinshaw noted that any attempt to understand the development of the independent states cannot escape a study of ethnicity and religion as some of the main challenges to the development of democracy, nation building and national integration.

The situation in Nigeria with regard to ethno-religious crises is alarming. The colonial government boycotted the due course of legitimization at its formation and this poses serious consequences for its stability and unity at the present time. It is against this backdrop that the need for effective coverage of ethno-religious crisis is inalienable to the broadcast media.

The researcher is thus triggered off to ascertain the roles of Nigerian Television Authority as a broadcast medium in creating impact on ethno-religious crisis. The researcher also makes certain the feelings of the broadcast media’s audience on the role the media play in tackling ethno-religious crisis. Besides, the researcher tries to discover if the activities of broadcast media have helped in the fight against ethno-religious violence in Nigeria.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The researcher in a bit to effectively carry out this study has the following as the objectives of the study:

  1. To ascertain the roles of the broadcast media on the fight against ethno-religious crisis in Nigeria.
  2. To find out viewers’ perception of NTA as a broadcast medium that wages war against ethno-religious crisis in the country
  3. To find out if the activities of the broadcast media has helped to reduce or eliminate ethno-religious crisis in the country.

1.4 Significance of the Study

This study centres on one important element that has dampened the peace, progress, unity and stability of Nigeria as a country. The issue of ethno-religious crisis has reached a stage that makes people agitate for lasting solution.

It is as a result of this agitation by Nigerians to end ethno-religious crisis that the researcher embarked on this study to ensure that Nigerians are adequately informed and enlightened. This information will enable the people to know what ethno-religious crises are, their implications, and the need to support the fight against it through the broadcast media. This particularly makes the topic under study unique. Experts in conflict resolutions, government, mass media experts, journalists and students of journalism, all and sundry will benefit from it. Moreover, the material will be used for references especially by students of Mass Communication Department, IMT, Enugu when the need arises.

1.5 Research Questions

The researcher has set out to answer the following questions:

  1. Do the broadcast media play significance role in the fight against ethno-religious crises in Nigeria?
  2. Has the Nigerian Television Authority as a broadcast medium helped to reduce or eliminate ethno-religious crisis in Nigeria?
  3. Has the Nigerian Television Authority as a broadcast medium effectively carried out its role in the fight against ethno-religious crisis in Nigeria?
  4. How do NTA audience view the impact of coverage of ethno-religious violence in Nigeria?
  5. Is television as a broadcast medium thorough in its broadcast of ethno-religious violence in Nigeria?

1.6 Research Hypotheses

The researcher has formulated the statements below as guesses to the research questions posed above:

  1. H1: The broadcast media is playing significant roles in the fight against ethno-religious crisis in Nigeria
    Ho: The broadcast media is not playing significant roles in the fight against ethno-religious crisis in Nigeria.
  2. H2: The Nigerian Television Authority as a broadcast medium has helped to reduce or eliminate ethno-religious crisis in Nigeria.
    Ho: The Nigerian Television Authority as a broadcast medium has not helped to reduce or eliminate ethno-religious crisis in Nigeria.
  3. H3: The Nigerian Television Authority as a broadcast medium has effectively carried out its role in the fight against ethno-religious crisis in Nigeria.
    Ho: The Nigerian Television Authority as a broadcast medium has not carried out its role effectively in the fight against ethno-religious crisis in Nigeria.
  4. H4: NTA audience is satisfied with impact of the coverage of ethno-religious violence in Nigeria.
    Ho: NTA audience is not satisfied with the impacts of the coverage of ethno-religious violence in Nigeria.
  5. H5: Television as a broadcast medium is thorough in its broadcast of ethno-religious violence in Nigeria.
    Ho: Television as a broadcast medium is not thorough in its broadcast of ethno-religious violence in Nigeria.

1.7 Theoretical Framework

The Social Responsibility Theory:

The social responsibility theory of the press clearly states the responsibility the media owes any society within which it operates. The origin of the theory is traced to the Hutchins Commission on freedom of the press, set up in the United States of America in 1947 to reconsider the idea of press freedom as propounded by the Libertarian Theorists.

The social responsibility theory can be summarily defined as the free flow of information with a sense of responsibility. This implies that the media is free to report all sorts of information as far as it is for public good but the media must ensure that the information given out is done with utmost responsibility.

Domick (2000, P.401) stated that the press has the right to criticize government and other institutions, but has the responsibility to preserve the peace, unity and democracy of any society by properly informing and educating the people and by responding to society’s needs and interests.

The theory equally explains in a deep way the assigned constitutional watch dogging role of the media. This role empowers the media to monitor the activities of those in government like the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary to ensure good governance and welfare of the society.

Moreover, the theory with regard to the research topic posits that the broadcast media (the press) must take active part in governance to ensure peace, progress development and national integration. The media must ensure that the democratic principles of a nation and rule of law are upheld without deviance by individuals or group(s) irrespective of social status, tribe or religion.

According to Moemeka (1999, P.26) the social responsibility theory postulates and shows the evaluative role the broadcast media should play in this crusading programme and messages against ethno-religious crisis in Nigeria.

1.9 Definition of Terms (Conceptual and Operational)

Conceptual – Role:

The function or position that somebody has or is expected to have in an organization or society

Operational – Role:

Actions taken in order to realize or achieve certain goals.

Conceptual – Broadcast:

To transmit programme by radio or television. To spread information through the airwaves via the radio or television.

Operational – Broadcast:

To use television to spread information or show still or motion pictures to people in their homes or to use radio to give people information anywhere.

Conceptual – Media:

The main means of mass communication (especially television, radio, newspapers and magazines) regarded collectively.

Operational- Media:

The television or radio outfit use to spread information and pictures in order to impact positively on the people.

Conceptual – Crusade:

A consistent and sustained effort to achieve something one believes to be right or stop that which one believes is wrong.

Operational- Crusade:

Taking practical steps to ensure that wrong practices do not subsist.

Conceptual – Ethno:

Combining form of ethnic. Denoting origin by birth or descent rather than by nationality.

Poerational – Ethno:

Relating to a group of people with a common cultural heritage.

Conceptual – Religious:

Believing strongly in the existence of a god or gods. Concerned with, or believing in a religion.

Operational – Religious:

The two major religious body or sect in Nigeria (Christianity and Islam) in their belief and worship of God.

Conceptual – Crises:

A time of great danger and chaos.

Operational- Crises:

A time when fighting and killing occur as a result of ethnic or religious differences.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain the effect of broadcast media campaign against ethno religious crisis in Nigeria.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing challenges of broadcast media and ethno religious crisis in Nigeria

5.2 Summary

media organisations and their practitioners violate the laws and ethics of journalism, and by so doing, it is believed that they are committing crimes against the country’s citizens and the nation at large. This chapter submits that over the years, the Nigerian media acted as key players in political crises and ethno-religious conflicts than as impartial judges. Hence, they have affected negatively, the management of such crises and conflicts in the country. In spite of the negative effects of the mass media on the lives of individuals and the country at large, especially in conflict situations, the media can also facilitate and promote peace-building efforts in Nigeria. In crises situations, the roles of the mass media have been found to be very crucial. The mass media are powerful institutions in the society. They ought to be balanced and objective in reporting conflict events. As public servants, journalists and media organisations ought to serve as mediators and not instigators of conflicts. Disagreeing parties in conflict must be given fair, objective and equal coverage. Okali (2011) cited in Hamid and Baba (2014) unveils in his study that the Nigerian media have not done well in discharging their surveillance role, particularly in the Boko Haram crisis. In reporting daily occurrences, including the outbreak of conflicts, the media despite the ownership pattern are generally expected to display a real sense of objectivity. They must ensure balance and fairness in their reports; this implies that their report must be free from bias. To guarantee this, all parties involved must be given equal attention. Stories must not be one-sided. Facts must be separated from opinions. Orhewere and Kur (2004) cited in Nwabueze and Ebeze (2013, p.869) observe that “responsible media practice in times of conflict suggest that the media do not carry inaccuracies, distortions, conflict, confusion and errors of facts in their reports.”

5.3 Conclusion

Not only that, the prolonged ethno-religious conflicts that have plagued this country for over three decades, but have adversely exposed the fact that the media professionals were mostly influenced by their ethnic and religious divides. Their professional ethics were jettisoned in favour of parochial, ethnic, religious, ideological, political and commercial interests. The rise of religious sentiments and the urge to defend “one’s religion” has coloured the way news aboutreligious crises are reported in the Nigerian mass media. During ethno-religious conflicts in the country, the news that one reads in newspapers and magazines, listens to over the radio and on television are as varied as the state of faith of the reporters. In order to properly propagate, articulate and defend their religious views, many religious organizations in some instances establish their own media outfits. Therefore, from these few examples, it is clear that in as much as the mass media influence conflicts situations, conflict in turn do affect media operations adversely. Once the media practitioners are able to understand various issues and intricacies of ethno-religious conflicts, they will engage in objective and responsible reportage for a peaceful society which will lead to national development. Therefore, peaceful co-existence among adherents of various religions in Nigeria, especially Muslims and Christians, can best be promoted by the mass media for national development. National development on the other hand cannot take place in the face of incessant ethno-religious conflicts with their attendant destruction of lives and property

5.4 Recommendations

In view of what is happening in our society, the study recommends that:

  1. The society, especially the mass media should carry out their functions responsibly towards a peaceful society.
  2. The media should be objective and open without attaching personal bias while carrying out their duties.
  3. Inappropriate and inaccurate reportage during conflict should be avoided.
  4. Mass media executives and members of the press should work hand in hand with the government to maintain peace and stability in the country.
  5. Government should use the media to sensitise and educate the people on the dangers of ethno-religious conflicts to national development.

The Effect Of Broadcast Media Campaign Against Ethno Religious Crisis In Nigeria

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