Role Of The Media In The Crusade Against Global Terrorism

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Role Of The Media In The Crusade Against Global Terrorism


Abstract


In this study, the researcher setnut to examine the role of the media in the crusade against global terrorism. Towards achieving this end, 79 staff of two media houses in Nigeria, namely the publishers of the punch and vanguard newspapers were used as the study sample. These 89 members of the study sample were given 89 copies of structured questionnaires to complete. The analysis of their responses led to the following findings.

  1. The Nigeria media had been playing notable role in the crusade or war against global terrorism. Some of these roles include the publication/reporting of informative and up-to-date news on the dangers of terrorism; the making of compassionate appeals to terrorists to desist from such devilish acts and the exposing of the hideouts of some notorious terrorists.
  2. The Nigerian media had, through their activities, made positive impact as regards reducing the incidence of global terrorism.
  3. Through their anti-terrorism crusade, the Nigerian media has discouraged terrorists from using the country as their hideouts.

On the basis of the above findings, the researcher recommended that, in order to enhance the anti-terrorism campaign of the Nigerian media, the government should subsidize the cost of printing/publishing materials (such as ink, paper, and lithographic machines, the printing press etc). the researcher also recommended that the government should improve the nation’s broadcasting infrastructure such as the transmitters and the satellite. In addition, media practitioners in the country are enjoined (urged) to intensify their efforts to ensure that they report up-to-date news on terrorism.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

In the late 1980’s, terrorism appeared to be on the decline. However, a new breed of terrorists has emerged, particularly from the Middle East countries, (Arata, 2001:52). It is important to note that the present – day terrorist threat comes primarily from extremists who have established their own funding networks through traffic in drugs, private-business, independent wealth, charities and local financial support. Also these terrorists had continued to be as ruthless as ever (Eze, 200:67).

Nsidi (2002:61) reported that recent years saw a proliferation of senseless act of terrorism.

Some of these acts of terrorism, as reported in the Nigerian media include the following:-

  1. The bombing of Israel: Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina in March 12, 1992.
  2. The release of the deadly serin gas onto the Tokyo (Japan) subway trains on March 20, 1995.
  3. The bombing of a federal building at Oklahona – City (U.S.A) in April 1995.
  4. The bombing of a bank in Colombo (Srilanka) in January 31, 1996 by ethnic terrorists.
  5. The detonation of a bomb in a parking garage by Irish terrorists in London (English) on February 9, 1996.
  6. The blowing up of a bus in Jerusalem (Israel) by a suicide bomber on February 25, 1996.
  7. The explosion of a bomb outside a U.S. military housing facility in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia in June 25,1995.
  8. The bombing of the World Trade Centre (WTC) Building in New York (U.S.A.) on September 11, 2001.
  9. The various Christian – Moslem riots of (1997, 1999, 2000 and 2002) in Nigeria, among others.

In general, terrorists seem to exhibit less restraint than they did in the past. There is also new choices of weapons at the disposal of the terrorists. According to Udoji (2001:66):

“…. We live in an age of unimaginable – rage and apocalyptic arsenals – nuclear, chemical and biological”.
Extremists who want to make a greater impression are turning to the more lethal weapons that technology has made available. According to Williams (2001:43) these extremists are usually recruited from the following countries.

  1. Iraqi
  2. Palestine
  3. Afghanistan
  4. North Korea
  5. Syria
  6. Saudi Arabia
  7. Libya
  8. Iran
  9. Russia
  10. Indonesia

The attack on the World Trade Centre ( in New York city, USA) and on the Pentagon ( in Washington d.C.) in September 11, 2001 dramatically showed that there exists nothless and hate driven people bent on the mass destruction of human life. Further, the attacks proved that the United States and by extension, every other nation are vulnerable to such attacks. This implies that we live in a world where determined terrorists can in an instant, snuff out the lives of thousands of people (Okeke, 2001:49).

In the Nigeria context, terrorism manifests in the form of religions wars, Civil unrest’s and ethnic wars. During such wars, the manner of senseless killings, the setting of such incidents, the style of the reprisals that often follow such incidents, the provocative sectional reports in the media and the withdrawal attitudes of certain major groups in the group, often bear close resemblance’s to the events that precluded the country’s 1967 – 1970 Civil War (Igwe, 2002:41). The fallout’s (refugees in their own lands, bereaved families, hapless victims, shattered business) often provide old wounds and revoke memories of the fate that has been the consequence of such violent uprisings. In all cases after the dust had settled, with an anti-riot security men quelling the riots with Lunatic brutality that often escalate the death tolls, the victims are usually left their sorrows. Such dark events, which often occur in Nigeria, have created more destitute and socially disclosed victims than the Nigeria leadership has imagined (Ndu, 2001:59).
In the Nigeria case, usually after the fire-brigade approach of arresting the situation that ends with the inauguration of judicial panels and ad-hoc committees (whose white papers are a subject of controversy). The government reaction, at best is usually the pronouncement of policy statements that hardly ever translate into meaningful action.

The victims have often had to carry their burden and their cross in perpetual life of agony. The so-called rehabilitation and reconstruction measures often get droned in the murky waters of Nigeria sectional and tribal politics (Adindu, 2002:46).

The point to note here is that terrorism, in whatever form, is a threat to the survival of mankind. This fact is the basis of the crusade means, had been an important tool for this crusade. Hence the focus of this researcher is to evaluate the role of the media in this regard.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Terrorism had been a matter of global concern since the second half of 25th century. Apart from some deadly diseases, terrorism is regarded as the greatest threat to human existence. Hence, all the nations of the world are presently involved in an untiming crusade to eliminate terrorism in the whole world.

The mass media had been one of the reliable for waging war against terrorism. The question then are these what actually are he contributions of the Nigeria media in the war against terrorism? What impact had the activities of the media had as regards to reducing the incidence of terrorist activities in Nigeria? These questions, presented the problems that necessitated this research.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this study are as follows:

  1. To identify the roles of the Nigerian media in the war against terrorism.
  2. To ascertain the impact of the Nigerian media as regards reducing the incidence of terrorism in the country.
  3. To ascertain the effects of the media in influencing the attitude of the masses towards terrorism.
  4. To suggest the strategies for making the Nigerian media move effective in waging the war against terrorism.

1.4 Research Question

This study is guided by the following research questions:

  1. What are the roles of the Nigeria media in the war against terrorism?
  2. What are the impact of the Nigerian media as regards reducing the incidence of terrorism in the country?
  3. What affects has the media in influencing the attitude of the masses towards terrorism?
  4. What are the strategies for making the Nigerian media more effective in the crusade against terrorism?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The findings and recommendations to be made in this research, if implemented, will go along way towards fortifying the Nigerian media, particularly as it concerns the crusade against terrorism. This will help in checking or preventing the outbreak of terrorist activities within the nation. The Nigerian citizens will equally benefit from this research. This is because the implementation of this research’s findings and recommendations will ensure that the lives and properties of the followings Nigerian citizens are adequately protected.


1.6 Scope and Delimitation of the Study

The findings of this research borders on the media (particularly the Nigeria media) and their contributions towards the global war against terrorism. This research will be limited to the vanguard and punch newspapers, which are both published in Nigeria.


Chapter Five


Summary and Conclusions

This chapter contain the summary of the major findings of this study. This chapter equally contain the conclusions and the recommendations of the study.


5.1 Summary of Major Findings

The discussions and analyses made in this research revealed the findings explained below.

Majority of the respondents (44.06%) stated that they came across media publications/reports on terrorism since the past five years. Also the respondents stated that such media publication/reports have informative content (as noted by 89.89% of them) are up- to – date (as noted by 94.38% of the respondents) and clear and easy- to- read (as noted by 97.52% of the respondents).

Data analysis made in this study revealed that the roles of the Nigeria media in the war against terrorism include exposing the dangers of terrorism through their publication (as noted by 98.88% of the respondents). Other are: making compassionate appeals to the terrorism to desist from such acts (as noted by 92.13% of the respondents) exposing the hideouts of the terrorists (as noted by 91.01% of the respondents) and making a total coverage of all terrorist attacks (as noted by 89.89% of the respondents).

Data analysis made in this study also show that Nigeria media had made position impact in reducing the incidence of terrorism (as noted by 78.65% of the respondents). Also, all the respondents (100.00%) stated that the impact of the Nigeria media towards reducing the incidence of terrorism include the following: inducing public condemnation of terrorism through their activities and discouraging terrorists from using Nigeria as their hideouts.

Majority of the respondents (89.89%) stated that the Nigeria media had encouraging public support for the war on terrorism. Also a greater proportion of them (86.52%) agreed that the Nigeria media could be further improved to enhance their efforts in the war on terrorism.

In addition, majority of them agree that the strategies for making the Nigeria media more effective in the Crusade against terrorism including the following:

The reduction of the cost of printing materials through the addition of subsidies (as noted by 89.89% of the respondents) and the improvement of the nation’s broadcasting equipments such as transmitters and satellite (as noted by the 83.15% of the respondents)


5.2 Conclusions

On the basis of the above findings, the researcher concludes that the Nigeria media plays significant roles in the crusade against global terrorism. Some of those of those roles include the following:

  1. The publication /reporting of information and up-to-date news on the dangers of terrorism.
  2. The making of compassionate appeals to the terrorism to desist from such devilish acts.
  3. The exposing of the hideouts of some notorious terrorists.

The researcher also concludes on the basis of the research findings that the Nigeria media had through their activities, made positive impact as regards reducing the incidence of terrorism. This it has done in many ways. One is that their activities had induced public condemnation of terrorism. Two is that they had through their activities and Campaigns, discouraged terrorists from using Nigeria as their hideouts.

Also included among the concluding remarks is that the efforts of the Nigerian media on the war on terrorism could be further improved or enhanced through the adoption of certain approaches and strategies. One of these strategies is the reduction of the costs of printing and publishing materials by the government through subsities and tax reductions. The other approach/strategy is the improvement of the nation’s Broadcasting infrastructure.


5.3 Recommendaitons

Based on the findings of this study, the researcher made the following recommendations.

  1. The government should reduced the cost of printing /publishing materials include paper (of all types), ink, printing press, lithographic equipments, electronic computers etc. This they (the government) could do through the addition of subsidy to the cost of printing materials or the reduction of the import duties being charged on them.
  2. The Nigeria government should improve the nation’s Broadcasting equipments such as the transmitters and the satellite.
  3. Intensive efforts should be made by the media houses to ensure that they reports up-to-date news on terrorism. Such news should be reported in such a manner to instill unparalled hatred for terrorism on the masses.

5.4 Limitation of the Study.

In the course of this study, the researcher encounter a number of constraints. These include the following-

1. Paucity of Foreign Literature:

The scarcity of foreign literature on global terrorism within the country. Consequently the research the researcher was forced to resort to books and material from local sources dealing on terrorism.

2. Unco-Operative Respondents:

The researcher also encountered a lot of difficulties from some respondents in the course of the study. several of them were not interested in the research and hence gave many reasons for not filling the questionnaire while some of them said that they have not time to fill the questionnaires, other stated that they forgot to fill it. As a result of this factor, the research had to visit the study area several times thereby wasting more time and money.

3. Cost:

Due to the scarcity of foreign literature on the topic of study in our libraries, the researcher had to search for and purchase local materials that contain themes on terrorism, this tended to escalate the cost of this research.


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