This study ―Conflict-sensitive Reporting in Northern Nigeria: A study of Select Newspaper Reportage‖ was carried out to discover how some newspapers report conflict in Northern Nigeria. The study examined how the nature of reporting conflict can either enhance or diminish the conflict. The media is a powerful tool for shaping public opinion. Because of the sensitive nature of conflicts, the media has to take certain considerations when reporting on conflicts. Media reports can have an impact on a brewing conflict positively or negatively. The major objectives of the study are to: examine the extent of newspaper coverage of the conflict in Northern Nigeria determine how the coverage of the protracted conflict has been framed by the print media, and investigate the level of compliance of Nigerian newspapers with conflict sensitive journalism practice. The study looked at reports on conflict and compared the different reports paper by paper to reveal bias, ideological leanings and emphasis given to reports on conflict in Northern Nigeria. With the content analysis and discourse analysis, the study discovered that the attempt at conflict-sensitive reporting by these newspapers is very poor. The interview revealed that all the newspapers under study see themselves as objective and balanced this was however disputed by the content analysis and discourse analysis. Another finding of this study is that the amount of coverage given to conflict in Northern Nigeria is determined by the location and ownership of these newspapers. The paper also discussed how the media should cover conflict in order to encourage newspapers to be conflict-sensitive in their reports and encourage peace journalism in Nigeria.
1.1 Background to the Study
Human beings as superior animals, claim to be the sole possessors of logic, rationale and conscience. Humans are expected to resolve their differences and establish justice for sustaining peace, harmony and tranquillity since they have brains that are superior to that of other animals. The potential for conflict occurs whenever two or more people have contact with each other. Conflicts occur within a family, a group a community within and between different groups and within and between nations.
Often people assume that conflict is abnormal and bad. However, conflict is a normal and unavoidable part of all relationships and societies. It is even essential for the healthy functioning of a relationship or social group, because conflict allows people to adapt to new situations and invent new approaches to problems. What makes a conflict destructive is the negative ways people commonly deal with conflicts
Conflict does not have to be destructive if handled effectively; conflict can actually contribute to stronger, deeper relationships and can help to address on-going problems and concerns. Human history is packed with conflict. Some conflicts crop up on a small level involving only a few people sometimes it occurs within a single person’s mind.