The Role of the Mass Media in the Fight against Terrorism and the Instrumental Use of Women in Boko Haram Insurgence in Nigeria
Religious conflict, as one of the endemic problems in Nigeria that has led to the death of many in the country, is not new to Nigerians. What is worrisome to many Nigerians in the case of Boko Haram insurgence is its targeting and abuse of women and girls which is a violation of human rights. This raises the question of whether this aspect of Boko Haram’s activities is a form of Gender-Based-Violence (GBV) or is the victimisation and kidnapping of women and girls just a tactic within Boko Haram’s strategy? This study, therefore, set out to examine the activities of Boko Haram, provide sufficient evidence of a shift by Boko Haram to include women and girls in its terrorism in Nigeria and to suggest the strategies the mass media could adopt in combating this form of GBV. Using case study as research design, data for the study were collected from a variety of sources including the print and electronic media. Interview schedule was also employed as research instrument. The major observation of this study is that the mass media have an enormous role to play if Boko Haram’s tactic of including women and girls in their activities is to be combated. The study, thus, concluded that, to effectively address the problem of this form of GBV in Nigeria, the media have to brace up to the task of uncovering cases of GBV by the Boko Haram sect and following them up in the law court, regularly reporting and giving prominence to the reportage of cases of GBV, organizing debates on the issue of GBV by way of agenda setting and carrying out in-depth analyses of issues concerning GBV in fuller appreciation of their watch-dog role.
Key words: Media, Religion, Role, Conflict, Gender-Based-Violence, Boko Haram