Conflicts and Nigeria Media: A Look at National Newspapers’ Coverage of Herdsmen and Farmers’ Clashes

Sunday Uche Aja, Joseph Nwanja Chukwu, Ekwutosi Sanita Nwakpu, Valentine Okwudilichukwu Ezema, Ijeoma Njideka Taiwo


Media framing and reportage of conflicts can lead to escalation or de-escalation of the conflicts. Because of their roles in audience perception of events and issues, media framing and reportage are considered veritable instruments for conflict resolution. Unfortunately, the conflicts between herdsmen and farmers have become recurrent security challenges facing Nigeria in recent years. Using content analysis, this study examines the coverage of the clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Plateau State, Nigeria, by three national newspapers (The Sun, The Guardian, and Punch) from March 1, 2018–January 30, 2019 (the time of their ceaseless attacks). Findings show that the newspapers’ direction of coverage of the conflicts is highly negative and dominated by a criminality frame. The study concludes that many of the selected newspapers’ reporters are yet to imbibe the principles of peace journalism in their news reporting and recommends that the journalists be trained on peace journalism skills to facilitate resolution of the conflicts.


herdsmen, farmers, conflict resolution, news framing, peace journalism, war journalism

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