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THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA IN THE CRUSADE AGAINST GLOBAL TERRORISM – A CASE STUDY OF THE VANGUARD AND PUNCH NEWSPAPERS

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

In the late 1980’s, terrorism appeared to be on the decline. However, a new breed of terrorists has emerged, particularly from the Middle East countries, (Arata, 2001:52). It is important to note that the present – day terrorist threat comes primarily from extremists who have established their own funding networks through traffic in drugs, private-business, independent wealth, charities and local financial support. Also these terrorists had continued to be as ruthless as ever (Eze, 200:67). Nsidi (2002:61) reported that recent years saw a proliferation of senseless act of terrorism. Some of these acts of terrorism, as reported in the Nigerian media include the following:- 1. The bombing of Israel: Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina in March 12, 1992. 2. The release of the deadly serin gas onto the Tokyo (Japan) subway trains on March 20, 1995. 3. The bombing of a federal building at Oklahona – City (U.S.A) in April 1995. 4. The bombing of a bank in Colombo (Srilanka) in January 31, 1996 by ethnic terrorists.5. The detonation of a bomb in a parking garage by Irish terrorists in London (English) on February 9, 1996. 6. The blowing up of a bus in Jerusalem (Israel) by a suicide bomber on February 25, 1996. 7. The explosion of a bomb outside a U.S. military housing facility in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia in June 25,1995. 8. The bombing of the World Trade Centre (WTC) Building in New York (U.S.A.) on September 11, 2001. 9. The various Christian – Moslem riots of (1997, 1999, 2000 and 2002) in Nigeria, among others. In general, terrorists seem to exhibit less restraint than they did in the past. There is also new choices of weapons at the disposal of the terrorists.

According to Udoji (2001:66):“…. We live in an age of unimaginable – rage and apocalyptic arsenals – nuclear, chemical and biological”. Extremists who want to make a greater impression are turning to the more lethal weapons that technology has made available. According to Williams (2001:43) these extremists are usually recruited from the following countries.

1. Iraqi

2. Palestine

3. Afghanistan 

4. North Korea

5. Syria

6. Saudi Arabia

7. Libya

8. Iran

9. Russia

10. Indonesia

The attack on the World Trade Centre ( in New York city, USA) and on the Pentagon ( in Washington d.C.) in September 11, 2001 dramatically showed that there exists nothless and hate driven people bent on the mass destruction of human life. Further, the attacks proved that the United States and by extension, every other nation are vulnerable to such attacks. This implies that we live in a world where determined terrorists can in an instant, snuff out the lives of thousands of people (Okeke, 2001:49). In the Nigeria context, terrorism manifests in the form of religions wars, Civil unrest’s and ethnic wars. During such wars, the manner of senseless killings, the setting of such incidents, the style of the reprisals that often follow such incidents, the provocative sectional reports in the media and the withdrawal attitudes of certain major groups in the group, often bear close resemblance’s to the events that precluded the country’s 1967 – 1970 Civil War (Igwe, 2002:41). The fallout’s (refugees in their own lands, bereaved families, hapless victims, shattered business) often provide old wounds and revoke memories of the fate that has been the consequence of such violent uprisings. In all cases after the dust had settled, with an anti-riot security men quelling the riots with Lunatic brutality that often escalate the death tolls, the victims are usually left their sorrows. Such dark events, which often occur in Nigeria, have created more destitute and socially disclosed victims than the Nigeria leadership has imagined (Ndu, 2001:59).

In the Nigeria case, usually after the fire-brigade approach of arresting the situation that ends with the inauguration of judicial panels and ad-hoc committees (whose white papers are a subject of controversy). The government reaction, at best is usually the pronouncement of policy statements that hardly ever translate into meaningful action. The victims have often had to carry their burden and their cross in perpetual life of agony. The so-called rehabilitation and reconstruction measures often get droned in the murky waters of Nigeria sectional and tribal politics (Adindu, 2002:46). The point to note here is that terrorism, in whatever form, is a threat to the survival of mankind. This fact is the basis of the crusade means, had been an important tool for this crusade. Hence the focus of this researcher is to evaluate the role of the media in this regard.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROEBLEM

Terrorism had been a matter of global concern since the second half of 25th century. Apart from some deadly diseases, terrorism is regarded as the greatest threat to human existence. Hence, all the nations of the world are presently involved in an untiming crusade to eliminate terrorism in the whole world. The mass media had been one of the reliable for waging war against terrorism. The question then are these what actually are he contributions of the Nigeria media in the war against terrorism? What impact had the activities of the media had as regards to reducing the incidence of terrorist activities in Nigeria? These questions, presented the problems that necessitated this research.

1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The objectives of this study are as follows:

1. To identify the roles of the Nigerian media in the war against terrorism.

2. To ascertain the impact of the Nigerian media as regards reducing the incidence of terrorism in the country.

3. To ascertain the effects of the media in influencing the attitude of the masses towards terrorism.

4. To suggest the strategies for making the Nigerian media move effective in waging the war against terrorism.

1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION

This study is guided by the following research questions:

1. What are the roles of the Nigeria media in the war against terrorism?

2. What are the impact of the Nigerian media as regards reducing the incidence of terrorism in the country?

3. What affects has the media in influencing the attitude of the masses towards terrorism?

4. What are the strategies for making the Nigerian media more effective in the crusade against terrorism?

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The findings and recommendations to be made in this research, if implemented, will go along way towards fortifying the Nigerian media, particularly as it concerns the crusade against terrorism. This will help in checking or preventing the outbreak of terrorist activities within the nation. The Nigerian citizens will equally benefit from this research. This is because the implementation of this research’s findings and recommendations will ensure that the lives and properties of the followings Nigerian citizens are adequately protected.

1.6 SCOPE AND DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The findings of this research borders on the media (particularly0 the Nigeria media) and their contributions towards the global war against terrorism. This research will be limited to the vanguard and punch newspapers, which are both published in Nigeria.

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