THE INFLUENCE OF MULTICULTURAL DIVERSITIES IN JOURNALISM PRACTICE: A STUDY OF SOME SELECTED STATES IN NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT

The study was motivated from the backdrop that Nigeria is a dysfunctional multicultural society. The main objective of the study was to determine the influence of multicultural diversity on the practice of journalism in Nigeria. The study adopted a dual-method approach comprising survey and content analysis. For survey, a sample of 492 journalists was drawn from the population of journalists registered with the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) in six states, each from a geopolitical zone and the Federal Capital territory. The sample was drawn through proportionate stratified random sampling. A 29-item questionnaire was used to obtain data for the survey aspect of the study. For the content analysis design, four newspapers (Daily Trust, Leadership, The Guardian and Thisday) were purposively sampled for study. The analysis focused on two national events sensitive to multicultural diversity – the 2011 post-presidential election violence and the Boko Haram insurgency. The period of study covered April 19, 2011 – October 18, 2012. Units of analysis were straight news reports, feature articles, letters-to-the-editor, and editorial comments about the two events. Content categories included views of parties in a story, attribution, region, religion, ethnic group, and tone of a story. Data obtained were manually analysed using frequencies and percentages. Findings revealed that the journalists studied were not adequately guided by the sensitivity of multicultural diversities in reporting national issues, the journalists were not as objective as they should be in reporting multicultural diversity, and even though the journalists expressed knowledge of ethical and professional norms in reporting multicultural diversity, this knowledge did not translate to actual practice. It was also found that challenges bordering on economic and organizational constraints militate against journalists in effectively reporting issues of multicultural diversity. The conclusion arrived at was that journalists in Nigeria are yet to embrace the practice of multicultural journalism. It was recommended that journalism training institutions should review their training curriculum to accommodate multicultural journalism, recruitment policies in media organizations especially in news rooms should encourage diversity and pluralism, media organizations and regulatory and professional bodies in the country should develop specific guidelines for journalists covering issues sensitive to multicultural diversity, and all stakeholders in the practice of journalism should champion the cause of a functional multicultural Nigerian society.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page
Table of Contents
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       Justification/ Significance of the Study
1.6       Scope of the Study
1.7       Operational Definition of Terms
References

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1       Sources of Literature Review
2.2       Review of Concepts
2.2.1    Multicultural Diversity
2.2.2    Nigeria’s Multicultural Diversities
2.2.3    Journalism Practice in Nigeria
2.3       Review of Empirical Studies
2.4       Theoretical Framework
2.4.1    Theory of Multiculturalism
2.4.2    Libertarian Press Theory
2.4.3    Social Responsibility Theory
2.5       Summary of the Review
References

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1       Research Design
3.2       Population of the Study
3.3       Sample Size and Sampling Technique
3.4       Instruments of Data Collection
3.5       Validity and Reliability of Instrument
3.6       Methods of Data Collection
3.7       Units of Analysis (for Content Analysis)
3.8       Content Categories
3.9       Coding
3.10     Inter-coder Reliability
3.11     Method of Data Analysis
References

CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS
4.1       Demographic Characteristics of Respondents
4.2       Answers to Research Questions
4.2.1    Research Question One
4.2.2    Research Question Two
4.2.3    Research Question Three
4.2.4    Research Question Four
4.2.5    Research Question Five
4.2.6    Research Question Six
4.3       Discussion of Findings
References

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1       Summary
5.2       Conclusion
5.3       Recommendations
5.4       Suggestions for Further Studies
            Bibliography

APPENDICES

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

One outstanding reality in contemporary societies is the issue of diversity of cultures, also referred to as multicultural diversities (Titley, Kerr, & O’Riain, 2010). This issue has become a defining feature of socio-economic and political realities in most societies of the world as aptly noted by Pitcher (2009, p. 2) “…the existence of cultural difference whether understood in terms of race, ethnicity or religion has become fully acknowledged as a constituent part of the societies within which we live today.” As it relates to humanity, diversity refers to “differences in sex, cultural practice, ethnic origin, religious affiliation, ideological stance, political leaning, place of habitation and so on” (Albert, 2000, p. 8). +

Nigeria is a multicultural society, with a population of over 150 million inhabitants scattered across two “unofficial but glaring” regions (North and South) and six geopolitical zones (North-central, North-east, North-west, South-east, South-south, and South-west). There are over 250 ethnic groups speaking about 400 dialects, with three (Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba) clearly standing out as the major ones. There are three major religions (Christianity, Islam, and African Traditional Religion) and over a dozen political parties. While many citizens live in the rural areas, others live in the urban areas. Diversity is also the case in class status, with many Nigerians belonging to low and average class status, and a few but the most powerful belonging to the high status. Naturally, as observed by diversity scholars (Albert, 2000; Giordan, 2003; Pate, 2012; Babangida , 2012), multicultural diversities is not a problem, but could become one depending on how it is managed. It is not a problem when it is managed in a manner that produces the co-existence of many cultures in a society without any one culture dominating, domineering, manipulating and marginalizing the others (Udebunu, 2011). The management of cultural diversities in this positive sense is referred to as multiculturalism, which is not just recognition of multiplicity and plurality of cultural cores and centres, but in addition an acknowledgement of cultural criteria as the source of group formation and the promotion of democratization and equity among the different cultural groups (Makedon, 1996; Heywood, 2007).


But where issues of multicultural diversities are not effectively managed, a situation of chaos becomes the case. Ineffective management of multicultural diversities takes numerous dimensions. One dimension advanced by Babangida (2012) is the mobilization of the different cultural groups for various political purposes of the elite. In other words, there is danger when the elite manipulate multicultural diversities for their selfish interest. Another dimension is the recognition of diversities with the intent of some cultural groups marginalizing others (Grillo, 2007). Other dimensions of ineffective management of multicultural diversities are advanced by Titley, Kerr, and O’Riain (2010) as over-prioritizing the demands of minorities, misrecognising the demand of minorities, attempts to weaken shared bonds of a culture and values, subsuming cultural minorities under the pretext of cultural recognition, and substitution of culture and cultural identities. These are done under the cover of safeguarding national cohesion and national values.

Nigeria’s multicultural diversities status is poorly managed to the extent that what appears to be the case is cut- throat rivalry among many of the horizontal and vertical cultural groups. It is a situation described by Kur, Melladu and Hasssan (2013) as a volatile multicultural society. This volatile situation of Nigeria’s multicultural diversities is traced to 1914 with the amalgamation of the southern and northern protectorates (Aiyede, 2000). This amalgamation was seen as a marriage of strange bed fellows that was not going to work as stressed by Aiyede (2000, p. 10).

Nigerian’s formal identity was forged with the amalgamation of the southern and northern protectorates in 1914. The unification of this territory reflected the form and manner by which the British came to conquer, consolidate and administer the various peoples included in the Nigerian state. The process of subjugation and incorporation of the more than 250 ethno-linguistic groups in Nigeria was protracted, piecemeal, and uneven.

Similarly, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the then Premier of Northern Nigeria, described the amalgamation way back in 1947 as a colonial mistake which brought different people with different cultural orientations together. The differences, according to Bello are so numerous, deep and glaring that there cannot be pretence about them (Kirk-Greene, 1971). The deep-rooted differences in the amalgamated Nigeria did not disappear even with independence in 1960, but rather climaxed in 1967 with a fierce civil war. The three-year old war was responsible for the death of over six million people (Uwechue, 1971; Achebe, 2012). Nigeria is yet to recover from the psychological cum physical trauma and devastation of that war.
Over 43 years after the war, the challenge of poor management of Nigeria’s multicultural diversities, which was the primary cause of the war, is still threatening. Ethnic, religious, regional, ideological, labour and political conflicts, also referred to as identity conflicts (Danjibo, 2010), have remained endemic with some taking a violent dimension. Some of these identity conflicts with a violent nature include: the 1986 universities of Ilorin, Sokoto and Ibadan religious violence; the 1987 Kafanchan, Kaduna, and Zuru religious violence; the 1991 Kastina, Bauchi and Kano religious violence (Umechukwu, 1995). Others are the Ugep-Idomi War of 1992; the endemic Tiv-Jukun conflicts; the age long Ife-Modakeke crises which climaxed in 1997/1998, the 1992 Zangon-Kataf crises and the 1995 Tafawa Balewa crises in Bauchi State (Otite & Albert, 1992 Ed.). The endemic Plateau conflicts which began in 2000 in Jos; the November 2002 Kaduna religious violence over ThisDay’s published article on Miss World Beauty Contest; the 2000 OPC-Igbo traders violence in Lagos; the 2000 OPC-Hausa conflict in Lagos , and the 2001 Safawa-Hausa Fulani crisis in Bauchi State are among the litany of violent identity conflicts in Nigeria (Kur & Obiorah, 2011). Recently, identity conflicts such as the Niger Delta militancy, the 2011presidential election violence and the Boko Haram insurgency are threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria.

In many of the identity conflicts in Nigeria, the mass media contributed in one way or the other to their eruption and or escalation. Empirical findings to support this assertion have been reported by Umechukwu (1995), Kur (2003), Orhewere and Kur (2004), Igboeli (2006), and Kur and Edegoh (2011). Umechukwu (1995), for example, found that mass media prevaricating reports contributed to the escalation of religious violence in northern Nigeria between 1986 and 1991. Similarly, Igboeli (2006) found that newspaper reportage of ethno-religious conflicts in Lagos and Osun States between 2000 and 2002 contributed to intensify some of the conflicts.


In their coverage of conflicts and other diversity issue, the mass media tend to be divided along ethnic, regional, religious and other cultural sentimental lines. This was the case during the June 12, 1993 political impasse in Nigeria, where the media of Southern Nigeria took a stand against the cancellation of the presidential election, acclaimed to have been won by Chief Moshood Abiola, a candidate from Southern Nigeria extraction. Similarly, the media of Northern Nigeria ignored ethical standards and established a firm position in support of the cancellation of the election that had the candidate from Northern Nigeria, Alhaji Bashir Tofa, losing (Kur, 2003).....

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