Departments Mass communication An Appraisal of Nigerian Newspapers Coverage of Women’s Participation in 2007 General Elections

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An Appraisal of Nigerian Newspapers Coverage of Women’s Participation in 2007 General Elections

An Appraisal of Nigerian Newspapers Coverage of Womens Participation in 2007 General Elections

The professionalism of media is crucial at all times especially during election periods to promote fair, safe and professional media election coverage. It is a truism that the media play an indispensable role in the proper functioning of a democracy. Discussion of the medias functions usually focuses on their watchdog role: by unfettered scrutiny and discussion of the successes and failures of governments, the media can inform the public of how effectively its representatives have performed and help to hold them to account. Yet the media can also play a more specific part in enabling full public participation in elections by giving equal coverage to both men and women in politics. The study aimed to ascertain how well Nigerian newspapers cover womens participation in 2007 general elections. There are many newspapers in Nigeria; however, this study makes use of two national newspapers as the research is on a national issue. For the purpose of this study, two Nigerian daily newspapers were studied The Punch and Guardian. For the study period of eight months, 422 stories were gathered out of which only 56 stories were on womens participation. Also, the data analyzed indicated that of the 56 news items, 50 89.3 were on the inside pages while the back page recorded the least, 1 1.8. The media is encouraged to air their opinions on womens issues especially when the turnout is much as witnessed in the last general elections. Editorials allow the newspaper house to share their opinions on national issues; it will be stimulating to perceive different views of womens participation in politics. It will indeed be interesting and different to see editorials on women during elections and on women in general. It is therefore pertinent for media professionals to play their fundamental role in the quest to eradicate gender discrimination of all types.

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