COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE NEWSPAPER COVERAGE OF ENVIRONMENT: A STUDY OF THE PUNCH AND DAILY TRUST. JANUARY 2018 TO DECEMBER, 2018

COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE NEWSPAPER COVERAGE OF ENVIRONMENT: A STUDY OF THE PUNCH AND DAILY TRUST. JANUARY 2018 TO DECEMBER, 2018

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background of the Study

Environmental sustainability has critically become an important issue as acute weather changes, global warming and environmental degradation take effect. The continual growth of world population demands an increase in resources. In order to meet the increasing demand for these resources, more industrial activities also grew around the world.

It is worth noting that industrialization has resulted in global environmental degradation. (Ahuti 2015) reports that with industrial activities increasing tremendously, water, air and soil pollution has consequently risen.

According to (UNEP 2016) environmental regulation and emerging                                                                                                  technologies are easing the environmental impact in industrialized countries, but industrial activities as well growing demand continue to put pressure on the environment and the natural resource base. The negative effects of the environment have had an adverse bearing on many ecosystems as they no longer withstand or recover from natural disasters resulting from human activities (Attah, 2014).

Scientists argue that environmental degradation threatens the existence and survival of mankind and thus environmental issues should catch the attention of everyone (Singh

2015). It is this harsh reality that has seen most nations gather every year to find immediate solutions to environmental problems. Among the most recent meetings was the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference that took place in Paris, France between 30th November and December 12, 2015. The conference saw 195 nations negotiating and signing what came to be known as the Paris Agreement, a global agreement on the reduction of climate change. The agreement aims at reducing global average temperature to below 2 °C as compared to pre-industrial levels and limiting temperature increase to below 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. The agreement calls for full commitment by nations in order for human-caused greenhouse gas emissions to be completely rid of before 2100.

On the other hand, UNEP has come up with a raft of mitigation measures to curb the negative effects of climate change. Among them include global policies to manage water-related hazards, build crop insurance and finances, manage land use and strengthen health services (UNEP, 2016).

In Nigeria, environment has been an essential feature of national development policy. The country enjoys a great biodiversity and has a unique tropical climate characterized by varying weather patterns initiated by differing topographical dimensions. Nigeria has a wide variety of ecosystems that include mountains, forests, arid and semi-arid

areas, freshwater, wetlands, coastal and marine all offering many opportunities for sustainable human, social and economic development.

Today’s environmental management and planning in the country can is shaped by the Rio Earth Summit of 1992 since it helped greatly in raising the understanding of the link between environment and development. The Nigerian Constitution (2010) embodies environmental rights, freedoms and sustainability. Article 42 states the need to protect Nigerian environment to benefit humanity. Articles 69 to 72 provide guidance on sustainability and protection of the environment and natural resources.

Nigeria’s Vision 2030 calls for a stronger commitment and wide interventions to safeguard the environment and make it sustainable for future generations. However, against all efforts, Nigeria continues to lose her biodiversity due to habitat destruction, overgrazing, deforestation, pollution, unsustainable harvesting of natural resources, bio piracy and introduction of invasive and alien species which threaten indigenous species through the effects of predation, alteration of habitat or disruption of ecosystem processes (FMOH, 2014).

Building information consciousness is one way of curbing the aforementioned environmental problems. In this regard, the media act as a conduit and tool for environmental education and appreciation. The media play a critical role in shaping

how environmental issues are viewed by common people and environment stakeholders. Walter (2016) observes that over time, mass media coverage of environmental issues has proven fundamentally important in stitching the environment, governance, and daily life together by articulating environmental change.

So far, several studies have attempted to demystify the relationship between the media and the public agenda with regard to environmental issues on the basis that the media are an important source of information as they tend to affect people’s perception of the environment (Carvalho, 2014). Research points out that public interest in environmental issues mainly depend on the quantity of coverage produced by the media (Allan, 2017).

Adam (2014) reveals that there is a low level of citizen understanding worldwide regarding environmental matters and recommends that the media can facilitate a complete understanding of environmental information. It emphasizes that the media can play vital role in addressing environmental problems and building its sustainability since media reports have a relationship on the way people reason and behave.

Morgan (2017) had foreseen that the media were going to be a key conveyor of the public knowledge of environmental issues. He had portended that much of what people would hear about issues such as greenhouse effect, global climate change, ozone

depletion, and water and air pollution would likely come from the media, or from others who have heard it from the media.

Media coverage help to close the information gap by enlightening people on environmental issues, and assisting in simplifying the technical language of climate science for the people with basic or average education. Furthermore, (Hansen. 2017) agrees that media are potentially significant in transforming lives by improving the quality of education, building public awareness on health matters, bringing attention to local community needs and in times of disaster, providing information and sources of assistance to people displaced from their homes. In this regard, it is worth studying how media cover environmental sustainability issues.

The Punch Newspaper

The Punch newspaper was founded by two friends, James Aboderin, an accountant, and Sam Amuka, a columnist and editor at the Daily Times of Nigeria. Amuka became the first editor of the Sunday Punch. In November 1976, a few years after the first print of its Sunday edition, the duo started printing their trademark daily newspaper. Both editions were designed to favour a friendlier apolitical approach to news reporting, combining footage of social events with everyday political news. The paper sustains itself by delving into broad issues that interest myriad people.

Punch newspaper was founded by two friends, James Aboderin, an accountant, and Sam Amuka, a columnist and editor at the Daily Times of Nigeria. Amuka became the first editor of the Sunday Punch. In November 1976, a few years after the first print of its Sunday edition, the duo started printing their trademark daily newspaper. Both editions were designed to favour a friendlier apolitical approach to news reporting, combining footage of social events with everyday political news. The paper sustains itself by delving into broad issues that interest myriad people

Daily Trust Newspaper

Daily Trust is a privately held Nigerian newspaper publishing company based in Abuja. It is one of the leading media companies in Nigeria. Daily Trust was established in March 1998 and is one of the largest circulating newspapers in Northern Nigeria. The group of newspapers ranks among the top seven in Nigeria in advertising revenue.

The newspapers have online editions and content from the newspapers is republished by All Africa and Gamji.

Environmental journalism is becoming an important phenomenon in the Nigerian media. With its acclaimed vibrancy and high level of professionalism, the Nigerian media is at a vintage point of spearheading environmental campaigns and awareness.

The Nigerian daily trust newspaper is published along side weekly trust newspaper, as an innovative, versatile and market driven newspaper. Together, they constitute the largest circulating newspapers in northern Nigeria. Daily Trust was established in January 2001 and was the first daily newspaper from the federal capital territory (Abuja). The daily trust newspaper is printed and published by Media Trust Limited Nigeria Limited. The online site is well organized, simple, content rich and easy to navigate.

1.2.     Statement of the Problem

Environmental sustainability enhances human survival and socio-economic well-being. Environment and natural resources are valuable assets that offer a range of benefits and opportunities for local and national economic development, improved livelihoods and provision of environmental goods and services (FMOH, 2016).

Worryingly, a dearth of evidence suggests that environmental degradation occurs at an alarming rate globally (UNEP, 2016). Resources such as air, water and forests have been depleted, ecosystems destructed and some wildlife extinct thanks to human activities, poverty and global climate change.

In Nigeria, unprecedented political and socio-economic transformation, high population growth, dwindling productive land and technological changes contribute a great deal to degradation of the country’s scarce natural resources such as land, fresh and marine waters and biodiversity thereby threatening the livelihoods of many people.

It has been identified that the media is a critical information tool that can be used to fight against environmental degradation. It is therefore worth noting that the media can be used to drive and strengthen actions aimed at addressing environmental sustainability problems which are a real threat to the present existence and the future of humanity can be brought to peoples notice by the media.

In view of this, the media are considered one of the leading stakeholders involved in the implementation of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) activities. According to NEMA ( 2018), the media reach out to all cadres of the society and thus have the capacity to provide access to reliable and relevant information on research findings and best practices to build ESD and improve environmental sustainability.

However, it is regrettable that there is inadequate media coverage of environmental issues due to prioritization of political news by the Nigerian media and the fact that it is highly costly to procure media space for publication of environmental related issues (NEMA, 2018).

Shaw (2017) insists that print media has a massive power in creating public opinion and constructing environmental issues, and that the agenda-setting role of the media and their framing of issues are too powerful in shaping public opinion and bringing environmental problems to public attention. It is justifiable to continue studying the effects of media in political, economic and social spheres of life. Most research on media’s effects on environment have centered around television with studies showing that there is inadequate research on print media coverage of environmental issues (Batta, 2017).

1.3.   Aim and Objectives of the Study

This study aimed to assess the Comparative Analysis of the Newspaper Coverage of Environment: A study of the Punch and Daily Trust. January 2018 to December, 2018.

The study sought to achieve the following objectives:

i.                   To investigate how Punch and Daily Trust newspapers frames environmental

sustainability issues

ii. To explore the priority given by Punch and Daily Trust Newspapers to

      environmental sustainability issues through placement and frequency.

iii. To investigate the social issues that have a bearing on Punch and Daily Trust’s coverage of environmental sustainability.

1.4    Research Questions

i.                   How does Punch and Daily Trust Newspapers frames environmental

sustainability issues?

ii. How do Punch and Daily Trust Newspapers in Nigeria frame environmental

    sustainability issues?

         iii. What social issues have a bearing on Punch and Daily Trust coverage of

              environmental sustainability issues?

1.5.    Scope of the Study

The study will focus on the Comparative Analysis of the Newspaper Coverage of Environment: A study of the Punch and Daily Trust. January 2018 to December, 2018.  The study used environmental articles, reports, features and commentaries appearing within a specific period of time.

1.6    Significance of the Study

The media are a powerful information and advocacy tool and play a critical role in facilitating knowledge in the society. The media can play vital role in addressing environmental problems and building its sustainability since media reports have an effect on the way people reason and behave.

The findings of this study also inform environmental policy formulation processes and guidelines and helps environmental policy makers come up with resolute policies and measures.

The study also provides recommendations on how Punch and Daily Trust newspapers  should cover issues related to environment in order to effectively help in building its sustainability.

1.7  Operational Definitions of Terms

Environment: Throughout this study, environment refers to the sum total of water, air and land interrelationships among themselves as well as with humans, other living organisms and property.

Environmental Sustainability

It refers to the ability to maintain the factors and practices that contribute towards a quality environment on a long-term basis such that it can meet all the demands placed thereon without reducing its capacity to allow all people to live well at present time and in the future.

Environmental issues

These include the loss of biodiversity (wildlife, forests, fisheries), pollution of water resources, nature conservation and protection and soil and agricultural pollution

Punch: Is one of the daily Newspapers being published in Nigeria.

Daily Trust Newspapers: Is one of the Nigerian Newspapers being published daily.

Comparative Analysis: : Is a method to analyze the environment in which a business operates. Comparative analysis considers the entire environment of a business, its internal, external environment and is an important aspect of business planning. strategic plan of action for the business.


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