RESEARCH PROJECT TOPIC ON AUDIENCE PERCEPTION OF MEDIA COVERAGE AND MANAGEMENT OF THE 2011 POST ELECTION VIOLENCE
The media can be used as an instrument to build as well as to destroy the human society. This study has tried to establish the inherent nature of conflict and crises in human society as well as the significant role of media and communication in forming and shaping individual or group perception of events or issues, enhancing human interaction and also looked at the nature of violence to the well being of humanity. Vital roles of the media and the various conflict management apparatus like arbitration, collaboration, mediation, negotiation and reconciliation among other measures put in place to avert or control violent conflict in Kaduna state have been highlighted. The study is limited to only four local government areas of Kaduna state and examines the perception of the audience, elicits essential information that enhance better understanding of role of media in conflict management and reconciliation. The survey method was used and the instruments for data collection were the questionnaire and in-depth interview. The sampling methods considered for this study are purposive (non probability) sample in the selection of study population and accidental or convenience sampling in the selection of respondents because of the sensitivity of the problem under study. The study focuses on objectives that centred on investigating the perception of the audience on the roles of media in conflicts as well as in managing and resolving the post election conflict in Kaduna State. The study provides necessary information on the causes and effects of conflicts to the society and how the media can assist in the proper management of conflict before, during or after elections. Some causes of conflicts are looked into and solutions as well as suggestion on the possible ways of controlling and mitigating the effects of such conflicts were proffered.The study concludes, that there is need to enhance the performance of media in the process of conflict management and reconciliation so as to enable a peaceful common future for all citizens.
1.1 Background to the Study
Development in all its ramifications is a product of peace. Society without unity, peace and understanding between and among its inhabitants cannot boast of development. Peace is integral and very central to the development of any nation. Development is simply an increase, improvement, and growth for the better. Development is a self-generating and self-sustaining phenomenon. Therefore, development is conceived in human term as the maximum satisfaction of basic human needs of adequate and decent food, water, electricity, shelter, education, modern social infrastructural facilities (Development administration, 1998, Yunusa & Okene, 2008).
The word ‗media‘ comes from the plural of the Latin word medium and it is used as a collective noun to refer to television, radio, newspapers, magazines, films, the international networks (internet) etc. The media, in both specific and general terms (the Newspapers, Television, Magazine, radio, social media and the internet as a whole) has always played and is still playing very prominent role in national growth and development. Media helps to develop societies by gradually changing and making them to become more advance, greater, stronger, larger, successful and impressive entities.
Apparently, media exert a powerful influence on its audience, their actions and inactions; also exert same on the perceptions of the world around them. The role of the media is to report and disseminate authenticated and objective information. This information must be factual, accurate and balanced and fair representation of divergent views, to allow the audience or larger public to make well-informed choices (Coffman et. al, 2006) and judgment. The media plays a wide range of roles in our lives.