Ethno-Religious Conflicts, Mass Media and National Development : Current School News

Ethno-Religious Conflicts, Mass Media and National Development: the Northern Nigeria Experience

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Ethno-Religious Conflicts, Mass Media and National Development: the Northern Nigeria Experience.

ABSTRACT

This study has examined the extent to which the mass media serves as instrument of escalation, generation and de-escalation of religious-related conflicts in the Northern part of Nigeria and the consequent effects of the role of the mass media in the development of the region and the nation as a whole.

The secondary sources of data were the main method employed in the collection of data. The study examined critically news reports and analysis, editorials, advertorials and special columns’ contents of some newspapers and news magazines.

Also radio broadcasts, television news and  International News Agencies’ reports on ethno-religious conflicts were examined.

From the analysis, the study showed that the role of the mass media during the period under study did contribute immensely to the escalation of these conflicts which consequently affected the socio-economic development of northern Nigeria in particular and the nation at large in the past three decades.

The study has in addition, established that even in some instances when conflicts arose as a result of other factors, they usually assumed religious colourations thus making them intractable.

The study further discovered that the mass media in Nigeria  in these instances of reportage of ethno-religious conflicts played roles as diverse as the interests of their owners and editors, geographical locations, ethnic and religious affiliations of the owners or editors.

The study therefore recommends a paradigm shift in ethno-religious reportage by the mass media in order to play down conflict situations rather than escalating them in order the promote national development.

This is because, conflict generally is complex  in nature and so its reportage should be handled with care to avoid the generation and escalation of further conflicts.

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Conflicts of varying scales and intensities have been witnessed in this century in different parts of the world. It is difficult to ascertain the exact number of these conflicts but it is safe to say that these social unrests have taken a toll on humanity in terms of deaths, displacements and disruption of economic and social activities.

Indeed massive violent conflicts on a scale previously unimaginable have come to stare humanity in the face with their attendant adverse effects on the socio-economic development of the society.

Conflicts in general are not new to human societies, they are as old as human society because they have been in existence in all spheres of human life since the beginning of history.

According to Otite and Albert, conflicts are necessary characteristics of every human society- a ‚Äúnormal process of interaction particularly¬† in complex societies in which resources are usually scarce‚ÄĚ (1).

A conflict however, becomes an abnormality when it results to violence. The religious dimension in conflict is also not a new phenomenon, as casual checks of some religious texts reveal accounts of bloody conflicts fought in the name of religion. Religion has the capacity to serve as both a force for good and for evil in violent conflict situations.

However, experiences have shown that many of those involved in violent conflict situations have used religion or ethnic identities to rally support, justify their actions and proclaim a ‚Äúmoral superiority‚ÄĚ over others.

REFERENCES

Abati, Reuben. ‚ÄúObasanjo and the Jihadist.‚ÄĚ The Guardian [Lagos] 3 March, 2000: 3. Print.

Abati, Reuben.‚ÄĚThe Maiguard Phenomenon.‚ÄĚ The Guardian [Lagos] 10 March 2000: 5. Print Abdal-Haqq, Irshad. Understanding Islamic Law: From Classical to Contemporary.

Aminah Beverly McCloud. Ed. Chapter 1 Islamic Law ‚Äď An Overview of its Origin and Elements. AltaMira Press. Calder 2006.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Web. law.wm.edu/academics/intellectuallife/. Retrieved on 18 March 2013.

Abdu, Hussaini. ‚ÄúEthno-Religious Crisis in Kaduna: Impact on Women and Children.‚ÄĚ Ethno-Religious Conflicts and Democracy in Nigeria: Challenges. Eds. Etanibi Alemika and Festus Okoye. Kaduna, Human Rights Monitor, 2002. 117-142. Print.

Abdu, Hussaini. ‚ÄúEthno-Religious Crisis in Kaduna: Impact on Women and Children.‚ÄĚ Ethno- Religious Conflicts and Democracy in Nigeria: Challenges. Eds.Etanibi Alemika and Festus Okoye. Kaduna, Human Rights Monitor, 2002. Print.

Abdu, Hussaini. ‚ÄúReligion, Democratization and National Integration in Nigeria.‚ÄĚ Ethno-Religious Conflicts and Democracy in Nigeria: Challenges. Eds. Etanibi, Alemika, and Festus Okoye. Kaduna, Human Rights Monitor, 2002. 143-184. Print.

 

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