1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Journalism, which is concerned with news coverage and reporting, has often been seen as a tool for advocating and ensuring peace in the societies. This is one of the many roles journalists play in the society as ascribed by the social responsibility theory. In fact, the media should ordinarily be the conscience of the society; unfortunately, in Nigeria today, media practitioners tend to be callous concerning their role as peacemakers, rather they serve as the machinery for promoting disunity, igniting crises and triggering hatred among the members of the society (Ali 2013). The recent trend in journalism malpractice in the country is the dissemination of hate speech and vulgar language. Indeed, the press fell to the trap of reporting hate speech by quoting directly from interviews, press statements, advertorials and sometimes from alleged online sources. A case in point is the general elections where popular media outlets in Nigeria, like AIT, Channels, This-day, Vanguard and The Nation inter alia were flushed with campaigns by several political parties displaying crass abuse of the right of free speech including hate speech and other types of foul language (Olowojolu 2016). Despite the fact that some guiding journalism codes of ethic such as the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage and even members of the society rejected the use of such messages, hate speech and foul language filled the media landscape. It is worthy of note that hate speech and foul language in Nigeria are mostly inclined to religion or politics. In general, description of hate speech tend to be wide, sometimes even extending to embody words that are insulting of those in power or minority groups, or demeaning of individuals who are particularly visible in the society. At critical times such as during election campaigns, hate speech may be prone to manipulation; accusations of promoting hate speech may be traded among political opponents or used by those in power to curb dissent and criticism. Nonetheless, while still countering hate speeches in the traditional media, the emergence of new media has broadened the battlefield in combating the hate speech saga. The new media offers an ideal platform to adapt and spread hate speech and foul language easily because of its decentralised, anonymous and interactive structure. The prevalence of hate speech and foul language on social media bordering on political and national issues, and even social interaction in Nigeria, especially on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn is becoming worrisome. This is because apart from undermining the ethics of journalism profession, it is contributing in bringing disaffection among tribes, political class, and religion or even among friends in the society. The Nigerian public is inundated with negative media usage such as character assassination and negative political campaigns at the expense of dissemination of issues that help them make informed choices.
1.2. STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The new media have expanded the media landscape. Several Nigerians now have access to media as both content producers as well as content consumers. With this development, some Nigerian citizens who have penchant for the abuse of any new technology have begun to write and post whatever they want without let or restraint. Hence, the social media saw a lot of people posting different and diverse political messages in the social media prior to any political event. Some of those political messages were aimed at achieving certain goals. Some wanted their friends to be swayed to their own party or party candidates; to support or sympathize with their cause among others. Some communication experts, political watchers and analysts could not help but cry out against the abuse of the platform or media space as some have termed most of those posts or tweets as nothing short of hate speech. However, one may not help but ask, does hate speech really exist in the new media? If indeed there is hate speech, were there hate speeches towards the Nigerian transition or democratic process?
1.3. AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to newspaper coverage of campaign against hate speech. Other general objectives of the study are:
1. To examine the awareness of hate speech in Nigeria.
2. To examine the detrimental consequences stemming out from hate speech.
3. To examine newspaper coverage campaign effect on hate speech.
4. To examine the legal measures to regulate hate speech and foul language in Nigeria.
5. To examine the relationship between journalism and hate speech in Nigeria.
6. To suggest ways in mitigating hate speech in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. To what extent is the awareness of hate speech in Nigeria?
2. What are the detrimental consequences stemming out from hate speech?
3. What is the newspaper coverage campaign effect on hate speech?
4. What are the legal measures to regulate hate speech and foul language in Nigeria?
5. What is the relationship between journalism campaign and elimination of hate speech in Nigeria?
6. What are the ways in mitigating hate speech in Nigeria?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: Newspaper coverage campaign has no effect on hate speech.
H1: Newspaper coverage campaign has a significant effect on hate speech.
H0: There is no significant relationship between journalism campaign and elimination of hate speech in Nigeria.
H1: There is a significant relationship between journalism campaign and elimination of hate speech in Nigeria.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
There are many people that will benefit from this research. Both the young and the old will gain a lot of things from this work. The level of hate speech will not only be eliminated by the campaign but will be eradicated. This research will be of advantage to everybody in the community because the knowledge of how to provide solution to hate speech will be acquired. The research is organized in such a way that will highlight the role played by the print media in curbing hate speech in Nigeria.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on the newspaper coverage of campaign against hate speech, a case study of guardian and daily trust newspaper.
1.8 LIMITATION OF 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.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Newspaper: A printed publication (usually issued daily or weekly) consisting of folded unstapled sheets and containing news, articles, advertisements, and correspondence.
Newspaper Coverage: The activity of reporting about an event or subject in newspapers, on television news programs.
Hate Speech: Hate speech is a term used by some people and legal systems, meaning speech that negatively categorises a person or group on the basis of attributes such as race, religion or non-religion, ethnic origin, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Campaign: A campaign is a planned set of activities that people carry out over a period of time in order to achieve something such as social or political change. If someone campaigns for something, they carry out a planned set of activities over a period of time in order to achieve their aim.
OTHER SIMILAR MASS COMMUNICATION PROJECTS AND MATERIALS