Newspapers framing of herdsmen-farmers’ conflicts in Nigeria and its implication on peace-oriented journalism
This study examined selected newspapers’ (The Punch, Vanguard, Daily Trust and Leadership Newspapers) framing of herdsmen-farmers conflicts in Nigeria and its implication on peace-oriented journalism. The media has become a veritable arbiter in the process of knowledge formation, especially, as relates to daily societal happenings across climes; thus, necessitating the need to examine media presentation and representation of reality. Some studies have blamed the media for war-oriented framing of conflicts while others have continued to advance for peace-oriented journalism in conflict reportage. Within literatures, few studies have been done to examine empirically the implication of newspapers frames on peace-oriented journalism in respect to persistence herdsmen-farmers’ conflicts in Nigeria. In this line, the study content-analysed N=100 samples of news stories on herdsmen-farmers conflicts in selected newspapers, while focusing attention on the dominant frames used in the conflicts and its implications on peace-oriented journalism. The study reveals that solution oriented frames are most featured. Reports on Herdsmen-farmers conflicts are more violent, specific and narrowed featuring words like ‘killers’ herdsmen’, ‘gun-carrying herdsmen’, ‘Jihadist herdsmen’, ‘greedy farmers’, ‘intolerable farmers’ and so on. These words are more typical of war oriented journalism than peace oriented journalism that favours non-violent approach to conflict, broad, all-encompassing and multi-dimensional reportage. It therefore, recommends that the media operators should be more conscious in their choice of words in reporting herdsmen-farmer’s conflicts rather than employing words that can be more divisive, stereotypic and conflict inciting. It also recommends that Policy makers and government, at all tiers, promote mass-newspaper literacy among herdsmen to keep them abreast of societal happenings.
Keywords: Newspapers, Framing, Farmers-Herdsmen, Conflicts