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This study analyses the coverage of the Boko Haram insurgency by DailyTrust, Leadership, Vanguard and Punch newspapers and examines its implications for conflict-sensitive journalism in Nigeria. The objectives are to determine the consistency of the newspapers’ coverage of the Boko Haram insurgency with conflict-sensitive journalism and the framing of identity and motive of Boko Haram. The study also examines the treatment recommendations offered by the newspapers and the areas of salient emphasis. The study combines content analysis and in-depth interview methods to obtain relevant data. Framing theory was adopted. Findings reveal that Nigerian journalists are not fully adopting conflict-sensitive journalism in their reportage. It also shows that the identity of Boko Haram is Islamist sect with the motive of establishing an Islamic state. It indicates that the major solution is fighting the insurgents and the perceived risk is the collapse of the economy. The study concludes that the coverage of Boko Haram by the Nigerian newspapers is sensational, war-inclined and falls short of the solution-driven approaches encouraged in conflict-sensitive journalism. The study recommends that Nigerian journalists should increase their knowledge of the conflict-sensitive journalism so that they can make important contributions in finding solutions to the problem of Boko Haram insurgency.
1.1 Background to the Study
Ever since the inception of democracy in Nigeria, people have been expressing divergent views on its
benefits. To some, it is a threat to the security of their lives and property, while those that are key
participants in the polity recognize it as suitable for the country. Knowing the importance of peace
for the citizens, studies on insurgency have attracted experts’ attention whose literature has been of
help to policy makers both governmental and nongovernmental to strategize plans against Boko
Haram. Notwithstanding the universality of terrorists’ activities in many parts of the world, to
Nigerians, Boko Haram’s bomb attacks are the first of its kind, therefore becoming difficult to tackle.
In the words of Ojo (2011) commenting on the Nigeria’s security challenges in this democratic
setting, the greatest security challenge facing President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration is the
imposing impunity of terrorist activities of the Boko Haram, an Islamic fundamentalists based in
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