This study examined the role of newspapers in influencing political engagement and public conversation during the 2023 presidential election campaign in Nigeria. The study focused on the internet version of Vanguard newspaper, which produced 136 items on the campaign in a short amount of time. The findings showed that the newspaper's coverage was characterized by an attack tone, which reflects the hostile political environment in Nigeria. Other tones, such as indifference, support, persuasion, and discouragement, were also used to transmit various viewpoints and sway readers' beliefs. The most prevalent frame was the strategy frame, which includes conversations on surveys, election activities, and campaign plans. The personal issue frame, policy issue frame, and free election process frame were also significant, highlighting aspects linked to candidates' personal lives, their agendas and policies, and the fairness of the election. The findings of this study highlight the important role that the media can play in shaping public opinion and influencing political engagement. The use of frames and tones in news broadcasts can have a significant impact on how people perceive and understand political events. This study provides evidence that the media can be a powerful tool for influencing political discourse and shaping the outcome of elections. Overall, the findings of this study highlight the important role that the media can play in influencing political engagement and public conversation. The use of frames and tones in news broadcasts can have a significant impact on how people perceive and understand political events. This study provides evidence that the media can be a powerful tool for influencing political discourse and shaping the outcome of elections.
TABLE OF CONTENT
TABLE OF CONTENT 5
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
1.1 Introduction 7
1.2 Statement of the Problem 9
1.3 Aims and Objectives 10
1.4 Research Question 10
1.5 Scope of the study 11
1.6 Significance of the study 11
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms 13
2.1 Conceptual Review 15
2.1.1 Election 15
2.1.2 Mass Media Role and Electioneering 17
2.1.3 Evolution of Political Campaign 20
2.1.4 2015 Presidential Election Campaign 24
2.1.5 The Press and Politics 26
2.1.6 Imperatives of Newspapers 28
2.1.7 The Role of Newspapers in a Democratic Society 30
2.2 Theoretical Framework 33
2.3.1 Framing theory 33
2.3.2 Individual Frames 34
2.3.3 Media Frames 35
2.3.4 Agenda-Setting 37
3.1 Research Design 39
3.3 Population of the study 40
3.4 Sample Size 41
3.5 Sample Technique 41
3.6 Instrument(s) of Data Collection 42
3.6.1 Units of Analysis 42
3.7 Method of Data Collection 43
3.8 Method of Data Presentation, Analysis, and Interpretation 44
DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
4.0 Introduction 45
4.2 Data Presentation 48
4.3 Discussion Of Findings 64
4.4 Summary of findings 66
CHAPTER FIVE SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND REFERENCE
5.1 Introduction 69
5.2 Summary 69
5.3 Limitations of the study 70
5.4 Recommendation 71
5.5 Suggestion for Further Studies 71
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The media, emphatically newspapers, are given a significant amount of attention during elections. It is not overstated to say that the absence of media coverage makes it difficult for there to be a transparent election in Nigeria or anywhere else. This is due to the fact that the media are practical channels that may be used to monitor, correlate, educate, and disseminate information to electorates (Arijeniwa, Nwaoboli, Ajimokunola & Uwuoruya 2022; Nwaoboli, 2021, 2022, 2023). This might be explained by the fact that the media is successful at causing a shift in behavior and attitude.
Omoera (2010) agrees with the above assertion when he stated that the Nigerian press has always been useful as a vehicle for constructing the political landscape of the country, an avenue for agitation and proper political leadership. To express this in another way, we could say that the Nigerian press has always been useful as a vehicle for structuring the political landscape of the country. This illustrates that the mass media have an important role to play in the electoral process of any democratic government which is indisputable and crucial in its own right. Elections take place all over the world in the contemporary, modern civilisation and as a result, they are the focus of a great amount of interest and coverage from the media. People from all over the world pay attention to the elections in Nigeria since it is the black nation with the most people and is considered to be the giant of Africa.
As a consequence of this, greater dependencies on Citizens carefully monitor the media to learn about the election process, the parties, and the campaigns in order to choose how they would vote (Arijeniwa & Nwaoboli, 2023). Aside from that citizens place a higher amount of reliance on the media as their primary source of information regarding the political process, as well as the parties and campaigns that are covered in the media. This is done with the intention of making voting choices (Jackson & Lilleker, 2009). Newspapers have a reputation for having a significant impact on the populace, particularly in regard to the manner in which individuals participate in the electoral. The mass media have the ability to impact our cognitive processes. It follows that the vast majority of what we know about both our internal environment and election is the product of information that has been distributed through the various forms of the media. This is true for both our knowledge of the election and our knowledge of our internal environment. Elections are carried out in every democracy. Democratic government, which is presided over by individuals who were elected to their positions, is the system of administration that continues to have widespread support and approval in the contemporary world.
Voting by the populace to choose their leaders is the defining characteristic of this form of democratic administration. According to Omoera (2010), the metaphor of a watchdog being a member of the media is a reflection of the vigilant function that the media plays in any administration. The Nigerian presidential election was slated for February 25, 2023. Although there are more than eight parties and people who contested for the 2023 presidential elections, the major ones include Prince Malik Ado-Ibrahim who is representing the Young Progressives Party (YPP) party, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso who is representing the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Omoyele Sowore representing the African Action Congress (AAC), Peter Obi representing the Labour Party (LP), Prince Adewole Adebayo representing the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Kola Abiola representing the People's Redemption Party (PRP), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of All Progressive Party (APC) and Atiku Abubakar who is representing the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). This study is therefore carried out to examine how newspapers, specifically The Vanguard, covered the campaigns of the contestants.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Newspapers play an important role in the democratic process by providing information to voters and holding politicians accountable. In Nigeria, however, newspapers are often under pressure from political parties, interest groups, and the government to engage in biased reporting. This pressure can lead to newspapers taking sides in elections, reporting only on events that favor their preferred candidate or party, and ignoring or downplaying negative stories.
For example, in the 2015 and 2019 Nigerian presidential elections, government-owned newspapers reported events about the elections in a way that favored the government, while anti-government media houses reported the political events in a way that would tarnish the image of the All Progressive Congress (APC). This bias in news coverage made it difficult for voters to get accurate information about the candidates and the issues, and it undermined the public's trust in the media.
The mandate of the media is to provide accurate and unbiased information to the public. This mandate is especially important during elections, when voters need to make informed decisions about who to vote for. However, the pressure from political parties, interest groups, and the government to engage in biased reporting can make it difficult for the media to fulfill its mandate. To ensure that the media can fulfill its mandate, it is important to protect the independence of the media from political and economic interests. This can be done by ensuring that the media is free from government censorship and that journalists are not subject to threats or intimidation. It is also important to support the development of independent media outlets that are not beholden to any particular political party or interest group.
By addressing these challenges, we can help to ensure that the media can fulfill its mandate and provide the public with the information they need to make informed decisions about who to vote for in the 2023 Nigerian presidential election.
1.3 Aims and Objectives
1. To conduct a comprehensive content analysis of newspapers (print and online) related to the 2023 general elections.
2. To categorize and analyze the themes and topics covered in the articles.
3. To evaluate the tone, language, and framing used in the reporting for bias or fairness.
4. To compare the treatment of political parties, candidates, and issues to identify disparities.
1.4 Research Question
1. What is the extent and nature of newspaper coverage (print and online) related to the 2023 general elections?
2. What are the main themes and topics covered in the newspaper articles related to the 2023 general elections?
3. How is the tone, language, and framing employed in the newspaper reporting of the 2023 general elections, and to what extent do they exhibit bias or fairness?
4. Are there any disparities in the treatment of political parties, candidates, and electoral issues in the newspaper coverage of the 2023 general elections?
1.5 Scope of the study
This study's particular emphasis is on examining newspaper coverage of the general elections in 2023. Both print and internet newspapers will be taken into account as data sources for the research. The articles published in the run-up to the elections, throughout the election campaign, and in the aftermath will be the main focus of the content analysis.
Depending on the particular context being researched, the study will contain newspapers from a wide variety of areas or nations. It's crucial to keep in mind that the research will not touch on other media types, such as social media platforms, radio, or television.
The focus of the study will be on how political parties, candidates, and election problems are portrayed in the newspaper stories. It will evaluate the reporting's impartiality, balance, and fairness and point out any biases, sensationalism, or distortion that may have been present. The research will also look at how various political parties, candidates, and election problems are presented and given emphasis in media reporting.
The purpose of the research is to provide light on how newspapers affect how people think about and talk about the general elections in 2023. It does not, however, seek to assess the overall influence of press coverage on political results or popular opinion. The emphasis is still on examining the features and substance of newspaper stories to comprehend their impact inside the provided
1.6 Significance of the study
The general election coverage in newspapers in 2023 research has various important ramifications. First, it makes a contribution to the study of media and political communication by offering insightful information on how newspapers influence public opinion and election-related debate. The research provides insight into the scope, nature, and features of newspaper coverage during a significant democratic event by undertaking a thorough content analysis. A critical evaluation of the media's impact on the development of public opinion may be made by understanding how political parties, candidates, and election issues are depicted and the biases, if any, evident in the reporting.
The study's conclusions also have applications for media outlets, journalists, and election officials. The research may work as a manual for improving journalistic methods and guaranteeing responsible election coverage by assessing the objectivity, balance, and fairness of the reporting. Comparing how political figures and problems are handled differently might help reveal any biases that can present in the media environment. This may cause media outlets to evaluate their editorial procedures and seek to cover elections in a more fair and inclusive manner. By taking the results into account when creating rules or procedures to guarantee fair media coverage during election seasons, election authorities may also gain from this research.
Insights from the research on how the media affects how the public views the elections also have larger social implications. Democracy depends on elections, and a well-informed voter is essential to a functioning democratic system. Having a better understanding of how media coverage affects public opinion may result in a more educated and involved populace. The research might encourage conversations on media accountability, media literacy, and the value of fair and impartial reporting in democracies. Ultimately, this research may improve the overall openness, accountability, and integrity of the political process by providing insights into how the media affects public opinion.
In conclusion, it should be noted that the rise of the digital age has posed challenges to the traditional role of newspapers. However, there are still ways for newspapers to adapt to the digital age and continue to play an important role in democracy. By investing in quality journalism, focusing on local news, and using social media effectively, newspapers can continue to be a valuable source of information, a watchdog for government, and a forum for public debate.
The study of the role of newspapers in a democratic society is still in its early stages. There is much that we do not know about how newspapers can adapt to the digital age and continue to play an important role in democracy. However, by filling the literature gaps and conducting more research, researchers can help to better understand the role of newspapers in democratic societies and how they can adapt to the digital age.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Newspaper: A newspaper is a publication which consist of a numerous number of large sheets of folded paper, on which news, events, advertisements, and other information is printed.
Election: A formal process of communal decision-making, an election is how a population choose a person or people to occupy public office. Since the 17th century, elections have been the primary method by which contemporary representative democracy has been carried out.
Content Analysis: Content analysis is the study of documents and communication artifacts such texts in various formats, photographs, audio recordings, and videos. Content analysis is a tool used by social scientists to examine communication patterns in a systematic and repeatable manner..
Democracy: is a kind of government where the people have the power at the highest levels and may exercise it directly or indirectly via a system of representation that often involves regular free elections.
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