Enemy framing and the politics of reporting religious conflicts in the Nigerian press

Aliyu O. Musa, N. Ferguson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    22 Citations (Scopus)


    This article is a two-part exploration of the reporting of sectarian conflicts in Nigerian newspapers. It seeks to find out how enemy images and stereotypes are created in the journalistic process; how they shape attitudes, and stoke hatred with the possibility of fuelling/amplifying sectarian violence. The authors draw examples from conflicts in Northern Nigeria, specifically the November 2008 crisis in the central Nigerian city of Jos. The first part deals with the examination, through Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), of data collected from the Nigerian cities of Jos, Abuja and Kano. The second part is a study, via Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), of 160 reports by THISDAY and Daily Trust newspapers during the November 2008 violence. In a bid to correlate the findings of the main study (IPA), the article applies Teun A van Dijk's socio-cognitive model to identify specific use of labels/rhetoric/enemy images, hyperboles, litotes and so on, in the two newspapers' reports. The article therefore postulates that Nigerian newspapers use enemy images and stereotypes to demonise the 'other', reshape their readers' impression of the 'other', reinforce intolerance and, possibly, spread hate and amplify conflicts.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)7-20
    JournalMedia, War and Conflict
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Bibliographical note

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    • conflict reporting
    • enemy images
    • media
    • Nigerian newspapers
    • politics
    • stereotyping


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