Any publication containing current public News, editorial, feature
article and advertising printed for sale and published periodically or
daily is seen as a newspaper. It belongs to the first category of the
media whose other categories was built on, it is like other media which
primary function is to inform, educate, enlighten, entertain and
surveillance. Despite this, it has a unique quality of remaining
dominant over centuries.
It is essential to point out that the birth and growth of Nigeria
press is a historical process in which many individuals participated
without foreseeing what the ultimate product of their labour to be.
Print journalism started in Nigeria in 1846 with installation of a
printing press at Calabar by the Presbyterian mission with sole aim of
increasing the literary level among local people through the writing of
short essay on various subject particularly religious matter.
Despite the fact that the Calabar experiment fail, it set the ball
rolling for Newspapers production in Nigeria. In 1854, a missionary
turn-journalist Rev. Henry Townsend established his own printing press
and inaugurated a printing school in the missionary compound in Abeokuta
and by 1854 founded a newspaper called Iwe Iroyin. This was the first
Newspaper which was for the reading pleasure of the Egba people. Before
it folded in 1867, it’s circulation was about 3,000 per day.
The first Newspaper founded by a Nigerian was by ritoyi Agasa in
Lagos in 1914 a pro-government paper which was hated by many and then in
1921, Hernest Ikoli established the Africa messenger which only lasted
for five years.
This research titled “An Analysis of Guardian Newspaper Coverage of
Crime in Nigeria” will scrutinize reportage of the mentioned media and
how the media act as the conscience of society it find itself in.
Crime as a social phenomenon is fundamental aspect in all human life.
Nigeria has thus been referred to as one of the most crime prone nation
of the world because of her low social security level and social
activities which are criminal in nature. Crime can be seen as an
“Internal violation of the criminal law and committed without defense or
excuse and penalty by state felony or misdemeanor through judicial
proceeding” according to (Toppan 1974 page. 138). Toppan view crime from
a Legal Perspective Societies defines crime as the branch of one or
more rules of laws for which some governing authority or force may
ultimately prescribe punishment. Wikipedia/encyclopedia defined crime
from the normative perspective which is a deviant behaviour that
violates prevailing norms, cultural standard prescribing how human ought
to behave normally. The approach views the complex realities
surrounding the concept of crime and seek to understand how chaining
social, political, psychological and economic condition may affect the
current definition or meaning of crime when leads to legal, law
enforcement or penal responses by the society or social institution.
Nigeria is obviously experiencing increase in crime rate. In a single
edition of our daily Newspaper, television report or radio report many
criminal activities are reported which is emanating from the urban. This
is due to the emphasis which is placed on urbanization of modernization
of cities, towns at the cost of the rural areas leading to rural-urban
migration. This union result has lead to the increase of crime at both
sides due to the over strengthening of infrastructure or under utilize
infrastructure by the able youths. This in turn leads to economic
depreciation, poverty, unemployment and increase of potentials for crime
or crime itself.
Nevertheless, Newspaper like other media is primarily a disseminator
of information which could be in views formal, editorial, feature report
e.t.c. This dissemination of information is about the activities of
mankind either on his personal, social life, politics, economy, crime,
sport or leisure for the purpose of informing, educating, entertain or
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The role of the press over the years has been argued by authorities
whether the press serve as catalyst or a tool reducing the crime wave in
According to dr. Adidi Uyo in his book titled “Mass Communication
Media”, “Classification and Characteristic” Newspapers are not stapled,
they are folded and the material on which they are printed, are cheaper,
therefore making for easier production and distribution. With this, the
information presented by the newspaper remain for a long time whether
as a catalyst or as a tool used in reducing the criminal activities due
to its physical attribute. The ability to remain after a long time makes
the communication a vibrant one.
Newspapers as categorized by Nababa Sanda Gusan in a book titled “The
Mass Media in Nigeria” are of six classifications. These
classifications is in accordance with the time they are put to bed. We
have the daily, bi-weekly, forth nightly, monthly and quarterly. The
most commonly found newspaper is the daily which is found or daily or
found at the news stand everyday. The bi-weekly is produced twice in a
week, the weekly is produced once a week, while the fortnightly is when
newspaper is published after every two weeks.
1.2 HISTORY OF CASE STUDY
Guardian Newspapers is an independent newspaper published in Nigeria
by Guardian Newspapers limited. The newspaper came into circulation in
the early 70s. It was the main competitor to the Punch where it came to
advertising, albeit not for circulation. Guardian Newspapers is one of
the few relatively durability is as a result of its broad range of
issues and contacts and non partisanship.
The “guardian” in its early stages of circulation was one of the few
dailies that did not publish advertised obituaries. But since 1989, the
policy has changes and elitist advertisement now makes a large
percentage of its revenue.
The “Guardian” is a liberal paper, committed to the best traditions
and ideals of republican democracy. It is committed to the principles of
individual freedom, but believes that all citizens have duties as well
as rights, it owes allegiance to no political party, ethnic community,
religious or other interest group.
The “Guardian” as part of what it stands for, does not, in principle,
object to the ideology of free enterprise, since this would be
inconsistent with its commitment to individual liberty and freedom. The
“Guardian” believes it is the duty of the state to ensure that less
privileged citizens have reasonable and fair access to the basic
necessities of life.
With its International Headquarters in Lagos, Guardian newspapers is
circulated across the length and breadth of Nigeria and even abroad. It
has three major departments, thus; editorial, business and mechanical.
The Motto of the “Guardian” is consciences, nurtured by truth.
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
The study is aimed at revealing and analyzing the development trend
of the newspaper industry in Nigeria. This will include scrutinizing
various limitations and merit the newspaper industry has arresting
criminal activities. This study will also try to establish this behavior
by the newspaper under theories of the press given this action or
behavior a profound explanation.
This study also seek to find the extent at which the media is vibrant
in taking the coverage of against crime, their responsibility and what
are the mode of those coverage or what prominent is being given to this
coverage. This study will also analyze the content of the coverage to
see whether it depicts a positive or negative message in the crime.
It finally will proffer suggestions, conclusion and recommendation on
the topic at hand. It will use tools of analyses and interpretation
like table and charts to make conclusion simple and understandable.
1.4 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
It is essential that the attention of the public is focused on how
newspapers coverage of crime, which is done by seeing the dimension of
the coverage of crime. Thus, the problem of research is whether the
Guardian Newspaper actually serve as the conscience of the society by
mirroring such activities to the plane of discussion, whereby the public
is enlightened about the recent development or what has become of the
streets,homes of the country.
And also to see whether the trend of Newspaper coverage of this issue
has continued on the objectivity philosophy of the media and play the
agenda setting principle.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is centred around crime fight using the Newspaper
industry. Thus, the study scrutinizes the Guardian Newspaper which is
referred to as the press and also part of the fourth estate of the
realm. This study illustrates the benefits of Newspapers even in the
technological era whereby technology has consumed the media industry.
This is to show how long the Newspaper Industry has come, what are
the development of industry to both itself and the society when used as
vibrant tool for sustaining the status quo or the change in it as it may
It is significant to the field of journalism, students, researchers,
lecturers and the society at large. It serves as reading and research
material to any individual interest in x-raying the Newspaper Industry
in Nigeria. Also individual sees to extent the Newspapers have played
the role of watch dog or conscience to society and what way it does it
whether objectivity or sentimentally.
1.6 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the volume or amount of coverage of crimes in guardian Newspaper.?
2. Does the Guardian Newspaper give crime stories prominence over other social phenomenon?
3. What are the angles of crime report in the Guardian Newspaper?
4. Does the Guardian Newspaper report crime story locally?
1.7 DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study focuses on assessment of the use of the media in the coverage of fight of crime.
These findings of the study will primarily be centered around the
analysis of Guardian Newspaper (July – December, 2008). This analysis
will cut across news stories, features article, editorial, advert e.t.c.
1.8 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
The study shall be guided by the social responses theory and
developmental media theory. The social responsibility media theory was
inspired by the Hutchins commission on freedom of the press in 1947 in
the United State of America. This theory is of the premise that media is
responsible to the people by serving as their conscience and protect
the right and priviledges of every member of that society the media find
This is seen as the watch dog function of the media whereby the media
is given freedom with responsibility to serve the society. The theory
postulated six functions for the press which is to serve the political
system by making information, discussion and consideration of public
affairs generally accessible; to inform the pubic to enable it to take
self-determined action; to protect the right of the individual by acting
as watch dog over the government; to serve the economic system; to
provide good entertainment which is inline with the culture.
Babatunde Folarin (1998) in his book, Theories of Mass Communication
sees the press duty as raising conflict to the plane of discussion with
its principle that media serves as social responsibility to the society.
Developmental media theory is of the assumptions that the media is a
powerful tool or vehicle for which national development can be attained.
The theory seeks to explain the press in developing nation or third
world nation like Nigeria. It takes account of the fluctuating economic
and political conditions. It however brought to the plane of discussion
the characteristics eloping countries within this category.
(a) Absence or inadequate supply of requisite communication infrastructure.
(b) Relatively limited supply of professional skills.
(c) Relatively lack of cultural production resources.
(d) Limited availability of media literate audience.
(e) Over dependence on developed nation for technology, skills and cultural products.
Dennis McQuail (1987) perceived the rational of the theory as follows:
i. Media should accept and carryout
positive development task inline with nationally established principles.
ii. In the interest of development in the nation, media operation can be restricted.
Media should give prominence in their content to national culture as well as language.