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THE MEDIA AND COUNTER INSURGENCY OPERATIONS. INVESTIGATING THE IMPACT OF MEDIA SURVEILLANCE ON BOKO HARAM TERRORISTS ATTACKS (2009-2016)

MASS COMMUNICATION UNDERGRADUATE PROJECT TOPICS, RESEARCH WORKS AND MATERIALS

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

All over the world, the emergence of insurgency and terrorism has sadly become one of the defining features of our society today. Eze (2014) opined that since 1992 when the first Al-Qaeda attack was sadly recorded countless numbers of insurgencies and terrorism cases have resulted in deaths of millions of people and displacement of many. Eze (2014) posited also that in the last decade, over two million people have died from terror attacks throughout the world and thousands have losed their lives and valuable properties in Nigeria. More than half a million have been orphaned, disabled or seriously injured. According to Anna (2013), insurgency is basically a media phenomenon; it can looked at as a species of psychological warfare waged through the media, which means that while we know terrorists influence the media, media coverage also influences terrorists and their activities. Terrorists, by definition, want attention and do everything within their power to get that. They commit these violent acts to arouse fear, terror and disrupt normal life and business in a given area, all in the hope of gaining attention for a cause or to pass a message. According to Ekwueme and Obayi (2012), the African continent has, in the past decade sadly witnessed high incidence of terrorism and insurgency. Such groups like the notorious Al-Shabab in Somalia have grown over the years to become a serious threat to the stability of the continent as a whole. Eze (2014) observed that one major factor in today’s insurgency or terrorism throughout the African continent is the growth in the number of them with fundamentalist ideology. The ruthless attacks, audacity, sophistication and dexterity with which they carry out their nefarious activities have taken security operatives by surprise. People are killed, maimed, kidnapped, displaced and facilities wrecked or plundered. The implication of this is that it has led to a very high level of poverty, insecurity, brought massive human suffering, and destroyed property. The society has lost confidence in the system and relies on God for His mercy and protection over this period.

In West Africa and Nigeria especially, insurgency involving the Islamic sect group – Boko Haram (the radical Islamic sect, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad - people committed to the propagation of the holy Prophet’s teachings and Jihad ) come to limelight in 2009 after the arrest and subsequent murder of the former leader Late Muhammed Yusuf. Since then however, the group have successfully operated launching attacks that have claimed lives and properties worth billions of Naira, most of which were attributed to the way and manner in which media has handled them (Hamid and Baba, 2014). Popoola (2012) posited that a major challenge confronting journalism in Nigeria today is that of surviving the attacks of this Muslim fundamentalist religious sect, the Boko Haram. Nigeria operates a plural media system in which both the public and privately owned media exist side-by-side. The media are often referred to as the fourth estate and the watchdog of the society or the environment which it exist. This implies that the media exists as an organ of information. These functions set the media apart as an important link/factor in the relationship between the government and the governed and make them a prerequisite to societal growth and development. Furthermore, Peresin (2007) was of the opinion that terrorists, namely, seek first and foremost to manipulate and influence the media for their own purposes by sending messages of violence and thus gaining mass publicity. On the other hand, national countries by all means also have to incorporate both national and international media into their counterterrorist strategy. Since all those are democratic countries with free and effective media, it is not likely to expect that the media shall react upon a direct inquiry and request of the country in accordance with the expectations of the national safety apparatus. The news media can be of assistance to terrorists just by reporting their frightful acts to a mass audience (Rather, 2012). In supporting the above view, Azeez (2009) asserted that reporting on terrorism presents a number of dilemmas and paradoxes to journalists, whose responsibility is to inform the public objectively, constructively, fairly and accurately. Thus, there are many unsettling questions on the ways the media report terrorism/insurgency, for which scholars of mass communication have not found absolute and definite answers. Such questions include whether or not the media are accomplices to the aims of the terrorists, who crave cheap publicity; whether the media are not actually magnifying the threat and fear in people in the way they report terrorism instead of allaying their fear; and whether or not the media are really objective and accurate in the way they report terrorism and in their narrative and framing of terrorists.

1.2. STATEMENT OF THE GENERAL PROBLEM

The menace of insurgency in most countries and especially in Nigeria since the advent of the boko haram terrorists and Fulani herdsmen has led to the deterioration of the security situation of the country thereby leading to the discouragement of potential investors which has precipitated to poor performance of the Nigerian economy. The Nigerian economy which is currently in recession may have been caused by the activities of theses terrorists which have crippled the economy of the North especially.

1.3. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The major aim of the study is to examine the role of the media in counter insurgency operations in Nigeria. Other specific objectives of the study are;

  1. To examine the level of media involvement in counter terrorism in Nigeria.
  2. To determine the relationship between the media and counter insurgency operations in Nigeria.
  3. To determine the major causes of insurgency in Nigeria.
  4. To examine the influence of terrorism and insurgency on the development of the media in Nigeria.
  5. To recommend ways of improving the activities of the media in counter insurgency operations in Nigeria.

 

1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS

  1. What is the role of the media in insurgency operations in Nigeria?
  2. What is the level of media involvement in counter terrorism in Nigeria?
  3. What is the relationship between the media and counter insurgency operations in Nigeria?
  4. What are the major causes of insurgency in Nigeria?
  5. What is the influence of terrorism and insurgency on the development of the media in Nigeria?
  6. What are the ways of improving the activities of the media in counter insurgency operations in Nigeria?

1.5. RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS

H0: There is no significant relationship between the activities of the media and counter insurgency operations in Nigeria

H1: There is a significant relationship between the activities of the media and counter insurgency operations in Nigeria

1.6. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The study would be of immense importance to the media, government at all levels and relevant stakeholders as it would unveil the role of the media in counter insurgency operations in Nigeria. The study would also benefit students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing a further research on the subject matter.

1.7. SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The study is restricted to the role of the media in counter insurgency operations in Nigeria, investigating media surveillance on boko haram terrorists’ attacks in Nigeria.

LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

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