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Title: Media Representation and Democracy in Africa: Why there are no skyscrapers in Nigeria -A critical analysis of UK news media's representation of Nigeria's democracy, 1997- 2007
Authors: Malaolu, Patrick O.
Supervisor(s): Meikle, G.
Haynes, R.
Lugo-Ocando, J.
Keywords: Media
power relations
news sources
new media
Issue Date: 18-Sep-2012
Publisher: University of Stirling
Citation: Malaolu, P., and Lugo, J., (2012). Africa, the scar in the ‘beautiful’ face. In J. Lugo-Ocando (ed.) Poverty and the Global Media. London: Peter Lange Publishers (=in press=). Published as:
Malaolu, P., and Lugo, J., (2015). Africa, that scar on our face. In J. Lugo-Ocando (ed.) Blaming the Victim: How Global Journalism Fails those in Poverty. London: Pluto Books, pp. 85-103
Abstract: This thesis investigates the representation of Nigeria in the British news media. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, it examines the interplay of culture, race, ideology and geo-political power relations in the production of news. It interrogates the influence of sources, the impact of sources-media relations and their direct consequences on the construction as news of Nigeria’s socio-economic and human development indices, which further signpost the direction of representation of the world’s most populous black nation. By considering the coverage of Nigeria in the UK news media between 1997 and 2007, a period which marked a watershed in the democratic evolution of Nigeria, this thesis contributes to the on-going debates regarding cultural understanding in a globalized community. First, the research is based on a content analysis of the coverage of Nigeria in five UK quality newspapers at a period marking the end of the political logjam that engulfed the country following the annulment of the June 12, 1993 elections; the return to democratic rule and the early years of democracy, which witnessed the successful transfer of power from one civilian administration to another for the first time in Nigeria’s history. Second, a critical discourse analysis of a sample of the coverage of the most mentioned issues in the reportage, and third, on a small set of interviews with some of the journalists involved in the coverage. As a framework for its analysis, this thesis focuses on the theories of cultural politics, representation and news discourse. It finds that the coverage of Nigeria does not just follow the pattern of a distant and differentiated ‘Other,’ but is also significantly influenced by pre-colonial cum colonial history and geo-political power relations. Though news media outlets and individual journalists do try, within their own powers, to make a difference but the fact that the myths supporting these assumptions have been institutionalised over time presents a huge challenge. The issues in the coverage are discursively constructed from western point of view with greater access to shape the news clearly domiciled in the pouch of European or western sources rather than the Nigerians who should have a better appreciation of their local circumstance. This kind of coverage informs the idea of applying western solution to Africa’s problem, which further compounds the crisis. The fact that this manifest pattern of representation obfuscates the real issue behind Africa’s situation and presents imminent dangers to our common humanity are the core concerns contextualized within the thesis. It is negotiated with references to relevant dimensions of culture, politics, news discourse and interpreted in the light of geo-political power relations.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Arts and Humanities
Communications, Media and Culture

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