UYO RESIDENTS PERCEPTION OF NEWSPAPER COVERAGE OF ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS IN SOUTH SOUTH NIGERIA (JULY-DECEMBER 2015)
1.1 Background to the Study
Most Nigeria dailies have been involved in special issues on environmental hazards. This has been done in form of newspaper coverage of environmental news. For instance, dailies newspapers such as The Guardian, The Vanguard, The Telegraph just a few to mention have been concerned with the country’s environmental degradation. The media perspective reflects a structure of environmental development and at the same time the media when skillfully applied could be an agent of development. Through coverage, the newspaper focus about environmental awareness and how to deal the preservation of nature that touches some areas of environments such as: planting trees and transforming such environment to a living and conducive place for human beings. The media report particular issues influences and to shape public awareness and debate. The media believed to be at the vanguard of societal emancipation by reaching to the audience with ease and extensively on environmental issues. Also, the newspapers geared towards driving and making government stakeholders to be more proactive to media publications.
The media play a crucial role in information dissemination of members of the society in which it operate. Going by this study’s context, the print media affects us in many ways, a key player in environmental communication and a communicator of values and norms. The media as the fourth estate of the realm is saddled with the responsibility of upholding and advancing the ecological news because the media is viewed as a defender of public interest and a watchdog on environmental issues in which human beings are also affected. Since then, journalism is seen as truly an estate of the realm, more articulate and more powerful than other estates. Interestingly enough, if the press is allowed to perform its primary function unhindered that is, free of censorship, the press will obviously perform maximally in informing the public on the issues considered critical and germane to the societal development, articulate public perceptions objectively guide and act as check on government, individuals, stakeholders and agencies. The slogan the media as the fourth estate of the realm is what links the press to the society through an ideological resonance.
As part of the perceived role of the mass media, the press or mass media are obliged to present ideas and information that will enlighten and widen the horizons of the citizens to prepare the citizens to take independent and rational decisions for define perceptions. Besides, another important of the media is that the media is obliged to provide reasoned s independent information to the citizens while carrying out watchdog roles. It is against this background that this study wants to examine Uyo residents’ perception of newspaper coverage of environmental news in south South Nigeria from July to December, 2015.
Tagbo (2010:22) after a study found that apart from being disposable beat environmental news coverage in relatively new subject in African media. This includes dissemination of information on green issues in the nation and in the global scene.
Empirical data from Tagbo also shows that the Nigerian main media have not been doing well in the coverage of environmental and to the health of people. Lack of understanding of the issue of climate makes it difficult to most African journalists to do a good job of reporting it. Also Tagbo (2010:43) observes that climate change has become a strong development issues but has been over showed by the pressing issues to which are more visible to the public. There is a vital consensus on the coverage of climate change issues from the Nigerian editors.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
It is not clear if the Nigerian newspapers see themselves as partners in progress with the coverage of environmental news and not a mere watch dog. Today, Nigerians have had cause to complain bitterly on the environmental degradation that affects most areas in which many of them are presiding.
To be a progressive, nation therefore, there is the need for interaction between the environmental sectors and the media where the media are expected to be not only a watchdog but also performing their correlation duty with the intention of leveraging and salvaging the environmental sector by monitoring safe environmental policy implementation, publishing environmental news and program and by bringing to the public knowledge of what goes on in the environmental sector.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The study is set to achieve among others, the following
Objectives in order to;
- Find out the extent to which Uyo residents have been addicted to newspapers’ reading on environmental news in South South Nigeria from July to December 2015;
- Find out from Uyo residents within period under review types of environmental news they prefer most;
- Assess their responses on the quality of newspapers coverage of environmental news in South South Nigeria July-December 2015;
- Ascertain Uyo residents’ perception in general of newspapers coverage of environmental news in South South Nigeria July to December 2015
1.4 Research Question
The following questions shall guide the researcher in this study:
- What extent Uyo residents have been addicted to newspapers’ reading on environmental news in south south Nigeria from July to December?
- What type of environmental news Uyo residents prefer most within the period under review?
- How could the study assess their responses on the quality of newspaper coverage of environmental news in south south from July to December 2015?
- How would Uyo residents’ perception in general of newspaper coverage of environmental news in south south Nigeria July to December 2015 be ascertained?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The study is significant because it will promote the body of knowledge that is it will spur other researchers to update more on the subject matter. Also, the study will be beneficial to environmental specialists because it will guide them on how to maintain the dilapidated environments. Also, the study will be useful to the government to stakeholders and to other relevant international agencies that do assist Nigeria in preserving her environments.