FRAMING ANALYSIS OF NEWSPAPER COVERAGE OF GAY-RIGHTS ISSUES IN NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT


The legal recognition of homosexuality became a contentious issue at the turn of the twenty first century. Following the recent outcry against same sex practice in Nigeria and buoyed by heavy resentment of it, a law criminalizing same sex relationship was enacted. The law - same sex marriage (prohibition) act has been variously attacked and praised by different segments of Nigerians. As a social construction whose meanings are culturally contested, newspapers do not only provide a platform for the contexts under which homosexuality is discussed and understood but also contribute to shaping public understanding on the issue. This study examined newspaper coverage of Gay Rights Issues in Nigeria. Five national newspapers’ (Daily Sun, the Nation, Daily Trust, Vanguard and the Leadership) editions between months of 1 November, 2013 – 31 October, 2014 were sampled using simple random and constructed sampling techniques. It employed content analysis with the code sheet as the instrument for data collection. It was found out that the newspapers overwhelmingly used morality frame among other frames; positive tone were mostly used when framing homosexuality and that newspapers combined texts and words that predominantly represented homosexuality as anti-culture; anti-religion and sexual abnormality and sparingly represented gay practice as a sexual right. Also, the results of descriptive statistics revealed variations in the pattern of frame usage among the newspapers with a significant difference (P<0 .05="" also="" and="" angle="" as="" attention="" based="" content="" create="" different="" effects="" examine="" existing="" findings="" focus="" for="" forums="" found="" frame="" framing="" future="" gays="" highlight="" homosexual="" homosexuality="" human="" i="" implication="" in="" interest="" it="" law="" laws="" lesbians="" may="" more="" news="" newspapers="" of="" on="" online="" order="" press="" provisions="" recommended="" representation="" researchers="" should="" television="" that="" the="" was="">penal code, criminal code
and same sex marriage (prohibition) act in dispensation of justice on gay practice.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page
Table of contents
List of Figures
List of Tables
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1       Background to the Study
1.2       Statement of the Problem
1.3       Objectives of the Study
1.4       Research Questions
1.5       Significance of the Study
1.6       Scope of the Study
1.7       Definition of Terms
            References

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1       Focus of Review
2.2       Foundations of Media Framing Theory
2.3       Media Framing and Effects
2.4       Approaches to Framing Researches
2.5       Media and Homosexuality
2.6       Homosexuality and Nigerian Laws
2.7       History of Gay Rights Movement
2.8       Theoretical Framework
            References

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1       Research Design
3.2       Population of the Study
3.3       Other Criteria for Selection
3.4       Sample Size
3.5       Sampling Technique
3.6       Instrument for Data Collection
3.7       Method of Data Collection
3.8       Units of Analysis
3.9       Content Categories
3.10 Inter Coder Reliability Test
3.11 Validity
3.12 Coding Method
3.13 Method of Data Presentation and Analysis
            References

CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSES
4.1       Data Presentation
4.2       Discussion of Findings

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1       Summary
5.2       Conclusion
5.3       Recommendations
5.4 Limitations of Study
Bibliography
Appendix

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study
Homosexuality is an issue that has existed as far back as even before Nigeria began

to exist as a nation. Notwithstanding its old existence, both the ‘‘issue and controversy’’ it

generated is relatively new in Nigeria (Obidimma & Obidimma, 2013). Homosexuality used

to be considered a taboo. But today, it has grown from its silent days when those attributed

to its preference deny it with all their might, to an era where it has metamorphosed into an

issue of right that must be protected. Until recently, there was no known open discussion on

the matter (Sessou, 2013).

The  gale  of  positive  attitudinal  change  towards  homosexuals  in  other  countries

especially in the western world, has emboldened local gays and lesbians so that in the recent

past, Nigerian gays and lesbians started coming out of the closest, demanding to be accorded

respect and legal protection. Given the fact that the world has become a global village, a

very small one at that, it is very easy for what is happening to one end of the village to

influence the happening at the other end. As a matter of fact, Igbodo (2013) argues that

globalization has a great influence on the increase of homosexuality in Nigeria. He posited

thus:


Trends have shown that we derive most of our present day culture and behavioural pattern from the west. Slowly, but surely, their way of life creeps into our land and totally overtake us. It is a well known fact that the world is a global village and a very small one at that; and this means that it very easy for us to catch up with what is new and in vogue and hop on that train.

It suffices to say, as shown from the above, that since the wind of same sex relationship is blowing across the globe, it is no surprise that the number of homosexuals in Nigeria is in the rise with many embracing homosexuality with open arms and ease. More still, some Nigerians abroad have publicly announced their homosexual preference. Some suspected homosexuals even took to the streets in protest following arraignment of two of their members for alleged same sex offence (Uzor, 2013).

Following the recent outcry against gay practice in Nigeria as a result of heavy resentment of it and widespread public hostility, the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, on November 29, 2011 passed the same-sex marriage (prohibition) bill. The House of Representatives also on May 30, 2013 passed the bill which was consequently sent to the president for his assent. On 7th January, 2014 the president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan signed the bill into law, officially becoming the same -sex marriage (prohibition) act 2014. The Act was consequently made public to Nigerians on 14th January 2014 (Obidimma & Obidimma 2013). The new law among other provisions criminalizes homosexuality (same sex marriage), homosexual clubs, associations, and organizations, with penalties of up to 14 years in jail. It also makes it illegal for gay people to even hold a meeting. As explained by Obidimma and Obidimma (2013) it might be a hard time for both gay and religious leaders who are in support of the practice.


However, that the new law is a backlash to western pressure on African leaders to decriminalize gay practice which hitherto is considered anathema to African culture and religion cannot be denied. Nigeria reflects a highly religious and conservative society that considers same sex marriage a deviation. Sessuo (2013) is of the view that same sex relationship is abhorred by majority of members of the society mainly on account of ‘‘Nigeria’s cultural pattern and religious inclinations’’. Similarly, Igbodo (2012) toes the same line of thought when he posited that ‘‘the idea of having sex relationship was a taboo in our shores. As a matter of fact, it was embarrassing to see guys walking, hand-in-hand. It was awkward and out of place’’.

The same-sex marriage (prohibition) act has been variously attacked and praised by different segment of Nigerians. Those who are in support of the law see it as a weapon against gay practice. On the contrary, those who opposed it cited human right as their reason for the rejection. In addition, some western countries have kicked at the law. They have also threatened cutting aids and grants to Nigerian government, if the law is not repealed. To Western countries, the new law represents an affront to human right which extends to sexual right. Currently, the law remains amidst attacks from foreign countries and segment of Nigerians who are in support of homosexuality, as Nigerian government has not shifted ground on the matter.

Though some Nigerians think there is nothing wrong with being gay, there are many who still believe it is immoral and unnatural. Advocates of same sex marriage often insist on the normality of homosexuality, assert the similarities between same and different sex relationships and argue that gay practice is a human right and equality issue.

Obidimma and Obidimma (2013) believe that same sex marriage prohibition Act is in itself discriminatory against people with same sex preferences. They explained:

There is no doubt that the attitude and efforts of the National Assembly and indeed the Nigerian nation in promulgating the forgoing laws is in itself discriminatory against people with same sex preferences. This is an exhibition of public hostility to homosexual relations. It is contented that this position is not only flawed in logic, it is also unconstitutional as it constitutes a violation of the fundamental rights of people with same sex preferences (p. 43)......

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