1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In recent years, the importance of a free, professional and plural media in contributing to good governance has gained traction in the international development community. A vibrant media gives people free flowing access to information, enables dialogue, encourages people to express their views, prompts greater political participation and encourages accountability. Conflicts of different weights 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. Separatist movements in different parts of the world often create dynamics of conflict and violence among various actors including government, separatist groups and civil society. One of the forces that shapes and influences the dynamics of conflict is the role of mass media. The information delivered by the mass media is capable of constructing the reality of various actors and society in the context of conflict. Reality is considered as true knowledge so that it is expressed through social action and discourse. The discourse and action affect the conflict escalation and de-escalation. The mass media contributed in constructing knowledge of conflicting actors in because the mass media determined the flow and choice of information influencing the public knowledge. The important role of mass media encouraged the Nigerian government to control the content of information in the conflict in any area. The role of mass media in disseminating information, as a matter of knowledge in human awareness, can actually be constructive for peace as well as deconstructive. The constructive role of mass media is located on the formation of reality on a peace process in conflict resolution (peace process). The peace process in conflict resolution can simply be defined as the multidimensional methods, including economy, politics and security, in order the conflict can be resolved without any violence. Otherwise, the deconstructive role of mass media can be indicated by the news content causing a probability of violence reaction among the conflicting actors. As a result of their ability to achieve and influence giant numbers of individuals, the media carry immense power in shaping the course of a conflict. Though several samples of the media’s negative contribution to the step-up of violent conflicts exist, honest and correct journalism and media prudent is important for the event of each nation and attainment of peace (Melon, 2009). Mass media typically plays a key role in today’s conflict (Melon, 2009). Basically, their role will take two completely different and opposed forms; either the media takes a vigorous half within the conflict and has responsibility for enlarged violence, or stays freelance and out of the conflict, thereby conducive to the resolution of conflict and alleviation of violence. Despite the crucial significance of the roles contend by the media in conflict and conflict resolution, this space has been comparatively neglected by each students and practitioners. Most existing studies concentrate on the customarily negative contributions of the media to the step-up and violence phases of conflict. Few studies take care of the particular or potential media contributions to conflict resolution and reconciliation. Indeed, the media, notably radio and TV, were instrumental in fomenting conflict and violence in places like Ruanda and European country (GNA, August 26, 2013). In an exceedingly state of affairs of conflict, the native media will play a significant role in preventing the conflict. The public relies on the media to separate facts and tangible realities from assumptions and spin, to provide a reliable account of what is really going on. Audiences should receive an intelligent account that enables them to form their own views. However, it is believed that the media largely failed to deliver on this promise. In this research, the main aim was to investigate how local media behaved in news reporting on this situation.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Even though, Nigeria has a long colonial history, it did not enjoy the benefit of a solid mass communication foundation, that is capable of serving as an engine force for the formation of a truly independent, self reliant, peaceful and viable nation state. The role of the mass media under colonialism was dictated by colonial politics, economics and religion. In post independent Nigeria, the role of the mass media is dictated by the local politics, the kind of government and the pattern of ownership and programmes. Against this background, Gamble (1996) observes that: Whenever the state has monopoly on communication as well as the control of resources and police/army, the mass media may not be able to objectively manage conflicts because of the inherent biases and gate keeping role of the owners. However, how the mass media, especially the broadcast media which are caught between sensationalizing stories to boost patronage and objectively informing the people have played this role, has become a subject of interest. No doubt, the media have the power to resolve crises, but on the other extreme, the media can also escalate same. With the present onslaught of the Boko Haram sect, herders and farmers conflict in Nigeria, evaluating the place of the media has become necessary to researchers, including peace and conflict resolution experts. There have been accusations and counter accusations on how the media, particularly the broadcast media are reporting the crisis. Some argue that government-owned broadcast stations have not fared well in reporting the crisis. They contend that government stations have been very economical with facts on the crisis. They further alleged that only the views of government officials on the crisis are given undue prominence in their reports.
1.3AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine radio and internal crisis management. Other general objectives of the study are:
1. To examine the role of the media play in managing internal crises.
2. To examine the perceptions of residents about the role of the media in conflict.
3. To examine the contribution of the mass media in managing of internal crisis.
4. To examine the role played by the state government in the resolution and management of internal crisis.
5. To examine the relationship between mass media and internal crisis management.
6. To examine constraints limiting the effectiveness of the media in the prevention, resolution and transformation of the conflict.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What are the roles of the media in managing internal crises?
2. What are the perceptions of residents about the role of the media in conflict?
3. What had been the contribution of the mass media in managing of internal crisis?
4. What role did the state government play in resolution and management of internal crisis?
5. What is the relationship between mass media and internal crisis management?
6. What are the constraints limiting the effectiveness of the media in the prevention, resolution and transformation of the conflict?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H01: Broadcast media does not play a significant role in the management of internal crisis in Nigeria.
H02: There is no significant relationship between mass media and internal crisis management.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
From the statement of the problem, it is very clear that the issue at stake is a very serious one because it has to do with peaceful co-existence and national development of Nigeria as a nation. The significance of this study therefore cannot be overemphasized because there cannot be development if there is no peace. Because of their importance, studies of conflicts in general have attracted the attention of scholars from different academic disciplines in Nigeria and beyond. These include conflict management scholars, theologians, sociologists, economists, political scientists, psychologists and many others. They also include scholars of Marxist orientation who see ethnicity and religion as products of class and economic relations. Therefore, this study serves as an eye opener to political leaders on how to regulate the use of the media to serve as agents of conflict management and peace building. Scholars and students of communication will equally benefit from the findings as a result of additional literature in the study of the media and conflict reportage. The findings of this study would be relevant to researchers and media practitioners. It will serve as a source of literature to any individual or institution for the purposes of further research on the subject or other related areas and also help media men and women to appreciate role of the media in managing conflict. The findings or outcome of this study will also be relevant to chiefs and some community residents to know how to communicate effectively and use decent languages when given the medium. The study also has policy significance because there is a gap in public policy for both government and the mass media in the management of conflicts in a pluralistic society like Nigeria.
1.7SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on radio and internal crisis management: case study of herders and farmers in Nasarawa state
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Crisis Management: Coombs (2007) defines crisis management as a course of action designed to reduce the damage a crisis can cause on any institution as well as its stakeholders. This study lays emphasis on the fact that crisis management is the application of the strategies designed to help the institution deal with a sudden and significant negative event. It protects and defends the university in cases of growing public concerns to its repute, together with its brand name or its publics or both.
Crisis: Is a situation in which something or someone is affected by one or more very serious problems. Critical event or point of decision which, if not handled in an appropriate and timely manner (or if not handled at all), may turn into a disaster or catastrophe.
Mass Media: Non-personal channels of broadcasting a message to the general public, principally the national newspapers, radio, and television.