Mass Communication Project Topics

The Roles of the Mass Media in the Fight Against Religious Crisis

The Roles of the Mass Media in the Fight Against Religious Crisis


This study was carried out to examine the the roles of the mass media in the fight against religious crisis in Dekina Local Government, kogi State. Specifically, the study examined  the causes of religious crisis in Nigeria. The study also identify the benefits of media reportage to the society. Furthermore, the study examine the media challenges of crisis reportage. And lastly, To understand the prevalence of religious crisis in Nigeria. A total of 77 responses were validated from the survey. From the responses obtained and analyzed, the findings revealed that through making some religious groups feel superior religious crisis can erupt from there, also, delineating different religious groups can lead to religious crisis.

The study recommend that culture of forgiveness must transcend words but reflected in social relationships and even influence government policies which may require putting in place social and physical structures that symbolize such forgiveness and unity of decision to emphasize forgiveness rather than retaliation sermons at Christian services and other gatherings and kutbas at mosques and other Muslims gatherings should be devoid of incitement against other religious adherents.



1.3   Research Objectives

The general objective or main objective of this study is to investigate the roles of the mass media in the fight against religious crisis a case study of Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State, Nigeria. The specific objectives are:

  • to determine the causes of religious crisis in Nigeria
  • To identify the benefits of media reportage to the society
  • To examine the media challenges of crisis reportage
  • To understand the prevalence of religious crisis in Nigeria

1.4   Research Questions

The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:

  • What are the causes of religious crisis in Nigeria?
  • What are the benefits of media reportage to the society?
  • What are the challenges facing media reportage on religious crisis in Nigeria?
  • What is the prevalence of religious crisis in Nigeria?




Our focus in this chapter is to critically examine relevant literatures that would assist in explaining the research problem and furthermore recognize the efforts of scholars who had previously contributed immensely to similar research. The chapter intends to deepen the understanding of the study and close the perceived gaps.

Precisely, the chapter will be considered in three sub-headings:

  • Conceptual Framework
  • Theoretical Framework



Religion is a cultural phenomenon, and it has played a dominant role in the socio-political organization of man throughout history. Nigeria is a country that is culturally diverse and has a number of religious groups which includes; Christianity, Islam, and Traditional religion. In a diverse environment such as Nigeria, religion has become very significant, as Christians and Muslims who mainly dominate the environment are strong

about their beliefs and therefore passionately act and exercise such belief system care freely. Okebukola (2012), affirms that religion is, without doubt, a potent force to achieve political stability in the land, considering the role it can play in bringing about development in the light of corruption that pervades society. This is probably because according to Anyanwu (2010), religion is human interaction with the supernatural in order to cope with life crises. However, the process of using religion in coping with life issues has become detrimental to the world at large. Religious crises has led to loss of lives and properties, population displacement, instability in government, underdevelopment, and distortion in national unity, fear and lack of trust. Furthermore, the causes of religious crises can also be identified as lack of recognition; which exists when a religion do not have regard for the other, which breeds hatred and blackmail and a lack of understanding (Omotosho, 2012). Religion is often depicted as a contributing factor in many conflicts and a tool to mobilize people during conflicts (Tjaart 2012) especially with political conflict (Okorie, Loto, & Omojola, 2018). Nigeria has experienced religious crises and it is most times between Christians and Muslims (the two major religions in Nigeria). Disagreements between these two dominant religions erupts because the religions desire to have dominant recognition of their beliefs, structure and culture in Nigeria. This has been the basis for religious crises in Nigeria since 1999. Some of these crises includes; the Kano revolt in 1980, the Bulunktu Bisarre in 1982, the Kastina crises in 1999, the Zamfara conflict, Kaduna revolt, Bauchi crises and Sokoto 1999. Recent examples are the Jos crises and the current conflict by Boko Haram against Christians and Muslims, which officially started in 2002.


Between 1987 and 2011, numerous religious conflicts, resulting in the death of tens of thousands of persons, destruction of Churches and Mosques and property worth millions of dollars, have been documented in Nigeria (Gofwen, 2004, Minchakpu, 2006, Nwaomah, 2010: ). The most recent of these conflicts are the post-elections conflicts and terrorist attacks that have been traced to the Boko Haram, an Islamic group with possible links with other terrorist groups outside Nigeria. These conflicts and attacks have largely occurred in northern Nigeria and they have been attributed to many causes. Though these conflicts are religious in nature, other factors, which are non- religion have also been identified as contributory or even fundamental to the crisis. The myriad of causes-remote and immediatecould be summed into (i) religious, (ii) socio-political, and (iii) economic. Religion is a poignant issue in Nigeria, possibly because of the fundamental quest for dominance between the Northern and Southern parts that for contingent historical reasons are dominated by Islam and Christianity, respectively. There is also the incessant protest of marginalization by the Northern minorities who profess Christianity in contrast to the Hausa/Fulanis who are largely Muslims and hold political dominance. The Boko Haram crises, though seen by some as a reaction to the failure of political leadership, nonetheless, has deep religious overtone (Nwaomah, 2010). Acknowledging the significance of religion in the Nigerian conflicts, Ndukwe, according to Boer (2004b) stresses that one cannot talk about the political situation in Nigeria without relating it to religion. Every political programme or event always has a religious overtone. Passion for religion also affects the economic climate of Nigeria. However, while to analyst the significance of religion in Nigerian politics is unquestionable, the political leaders prefer to deny the religious connotations of these crises. For instance, reacting to the riots of 1987, Kukah (1993) observes that President Ibrahim B. Babangida denied the religious basis of the riots, arguing that the trails of destructions of lives and property in Kaduna, Zaria, Katsina and Funtua and other places in Kaduna State were politically motivated. Further, Babaginda as cited in Kukah (1993) note was quoted to have said the riots were … carefully planned and masterminded by

evil men who saw the incident in Kafanchan as an opportunity to subvert the Federal Military Government and the Nigerian nation. Similarly, Binta Faruk Jalingo, a Muslim women leader argued “I want the common man to know that their leaders want to use them for their selfish interests in the cover of religion. A lot of these leaders are only using religion to make money and to enrich themselves….” (cited in Boer, 2004a:72). Further, in the 2000 Kaduna riots that followed the introduction of the Sharia law in the Northern States of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara authorities insisted that the Kaduna crisis was beyond religion. It is not religion. It is politics (Awowede, 2000 citing Boer 2004a:92). But Kenny argues that religion in the politics of 1970 onwards was basically a tool which the politicians used for secular interests (citing Muslim Christian Relations in Nigeria 2008). This, might be because of the regional dominance of the two major religions in Nigeria – Islamic North and Christian South and the gullibility of the masses when greedy

political leaders appeal to threat on their religion as an easy excuse to protect political status. Gofwen (2004) identifies four reasons that inflame the religious bigotry prevalent in Nigeria. These are:

(i) The differing political philosophy of the major religions in Nigeria,

Islam and Christianity.

(ii) The mutual suspicions and fear of domination between the two religions. (iii) Mutual ignorance of the beliefs and teachings of each other’s religion and sometimes even of one’s own faith.

(iv) Provocative acts of pronouncements which hurt the religious sensibilities of people of other faiths, whether they are intended or inadvertent” (p.74).

These circumstances could lead to misinterpretation of national events and issues. For example, when President Shehu Shagari openly received Pope John Paul 11 in 1982, Muslims such as Kukah (1993)sees such ‘fraternization’ as a reason to question the “Muslimness” of President Shagari, claiming that Islam was losing out to Christianity and the President was losing grip of asserting himself as a Muslim leader. On the background

of mutual ignorance and misinterpretation, adherents of either religious group have tended to assert themselves or even to react violently when they felt their religion was threatened or its heritage was being ridiculed. Thus, violent conflicts in which lives were lost and property was destroyed were caused by acts like the misquotation/interpretation of the Quran or the Bible, the construction of a church or mosque, religious assemblies, inciting statements and/or publications and even the protest against alleged prosecutions of religious fellow members in other countries.


The resultant effects of religious conflicts in Nigeria are enormous. It pervades all the sectors of the economy. Generally, conflicts breed insecurity, discrimination, mutual distrust and slow economic and educational development. This is the case in Nigeria where in addition to the gratuitous killings and maiming of thousands of persons, properties worth billions of naira have been destroyed. Certainly, these huge losses have deprived the nation of needed manpower and services for the growth of its wobbling economy. Religious conflicts in Nigeria have also left its effect on investment options in the crises ridden areas. The political instability, arising from the insecurity and uncertainty that pervades the region, does not inspire the confidence of foreign investors and thereby deprives the nation of the economic gains. In some instances, the enterprising Southerners who had established thriving businesses in the troubled areas in the North have relocated to other and safer places. Further, religious conflicts in Nigeria have left in its trail a broken society: communities that hitherto co-existed peacefully now treat each other with mistrust and latent or open aggression. Consequently, settlement patterns begin to follow the boundaries of religion in these areas so that adherents can be swiftly mobilized in the event of future riots. The disrupted social harmony is sometimes felt in places far from the crisis scene and thus account for the reprisal riots in other parts of Nigeria.


Mass media is a channel, medium, utility, device, or instrument used in the mass communication process. The mass media also includes, printed media, electronic media and Cyber media. Printed media such as newspapers, magazines, books, pamphlets, billboards and other technical tools that bring out the message by touching the senses of sight. Electronic media such as radio and recorded programs use the senses of hearing and television programs, motion picture and video recording covering both senses which is hearing and vision (Ray M. 2019). Meanwhile the online media (online media, cybermedia) is the internet-based mass media. Mass media is happen to be the suggestions for cultural development, not just culture in the sense of art and symbol but also in the sense of the development of settings, fashion, lifestyle and norms (Pate, U. & Abubakar, A. 2013). The Mass Media definitions have therefore been going through dynamic changes on a daily basis. As digital technology develops, mass media, advertising and marketing communications are experiencing new dimensions. Mass media has been described in different ways depending on the context from which the subject is being perceived. Ruben (1984) cited Ray M. (2019) defined mass media as the communication of behavior-related information. Bozzi, H. (2013), in his own view, sees it as the sharing of ideas and feelings in a mood of mutuality. Other definitions place emphasis on the importance of signs and symbols, as well as the transmission of cultural information, ideas, attitudes, or emotions from one person or a group to another. This branch of mass media involves in some ways the aspects of theater, music, dance, folklore, and other complementary traditional communication media. These definitions tend to capture the general idea of the sociological impact of the media on one hand, and the variances in individual perspectives of the media approach on the other hand. From whatever angle we look at it, these definitions may fit well into specific aspects of human development, from philosophy to psychology, from sociology to education, etc. Media in todays world has been described as a combination of content, comprising the scientific and artistic ensemble of music, film, TV, radio, publishing, advertising, and electronic games (Bazley, T. (2016). Thus, the mass media is any medium used to transmit mass information. The categorical classifications of what could be termed as mass media forms comprise the eight industries of the mass media industries; books, newspapers, magazines, and recordings, radio, movies, television, and the Internet. Mass media has attained rapid and remarkable expansion, resulting in proliferated dynamism over its content, platforms, and devices, following technological innovations over a long period of years. These developments have provided some dimensions of influence over various industries and social institutions. One major element of the media is the nature of its audience, which refers to its relatively large audience. Mass media is any medium which is intended for a large audience (Smith., 2003). It either takes broadcast or print media form. The broadcast form of media is also referred to as electronic media and is peculiar to radio and television technology. Print media, on the other hand, operates in the form of newspapers, magazines, journals and other print media.


There is a tension in the literature and in the field of communication about the  effectiveness of mass media alone versus the effectiveness of mass media in combination with  other programmatic interventions. funders want to know the cost-effectiveness of each of the  program components so that, in the future, they can fund only the most effective components.  Methodologically, these are challenging questions to answer because it is difficult to parse out the

effects of each program component when several components are implemented simultaneously  and each interacts with and depends on the other to generate the overall effect. To try to better  understand the effects of distinct program components, randomized controlled trials have been  undertaken, but the results have been underwhelming. Perhaps evaluations of the constrained  effects of communications campaigns through RCTs inadvertently also constrain exposure and  the larger social processes at work during a comprehensive intervention (Hornik, 2002).Program components work very differently in isolation than they do in synergy and it is  not evident that a mass media campaign that was effective when implemented simultaneously  with the training of service providers and development of interpersonal counseling services would  be effective alone (and vice versa). In an intervention with multiple program components,  individuals have more opportunities to be exposed repeatedly to parallel messages from various  sources. In addition, the program can work through multiple pathways including individual, social,  and institutional. The literature suggests that comprehensive interventions that simultaneously  address individual beliefs, social norms, and environmental constraints are most likely to be  successful at changing behavior (Wakefield, Loken, & Hornik, 2010).  And yet, the question about the effectiveness of mass media alone is tempting due to  considerations of cost-effectiveness and scale. Mass media can reach more people more  frequently than many other intervention components and is relatively more cost-effective to bring  to scale. Changing policy, training health professionals, delivering interpersonal counseling, and  developing or revitalizing services are slow and expensive processes that are difficult to scale.  In response to this tension, teams of interventionists and scientists at Development  Media International (DMI) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine are tackling  the question “Can mass media interventions reduce child mortality?” through a five year clusterrandomized controlled trial of a high intensity radio and television campaign addressing multiple  life-saving behaviors in Burkina Faso (Head et al., 2015). Using the Lives Saved Tool (LiST), they predict that DMI’s Saturation+ approach (broadcasting messages 6-12 times per day on  market-leading radio stations and at least three times per day on market-leading TV stations)  could reduce under 5 mortality by between 16% and 23% during the third and subsequent years  of a campaign. They add that, if these predictions are correct, mass media campaigns, at $1-10  per disability-adjusted life year (DALY) averted, would be among the most cost-effective of all  currently available health interventions (the most cost-effective being childhood immunizations at  $1-8 per DALY averted)


The media have come to play an ever more prominent role in social and cultural life since the emergence of the so-called “mass media” in the late nineteenth century. Before that time, even though the media through which social and cultural knowledge were shared (oral transmission, ritual performance, writing, visual representation, and printing) were vital, they were more tacit and transparent to the processes they enabled. Today, in a range of social and cultural contexts, the media are foregrounded, even determinative. The mass media emerged as the result of interacting technological and social developments. Mechanized printing, which developed with the industrial revolution and found its way into mass-market communication in Britain in the 1870s, brought about major changes in production, in reception, and in the political economy of media. Mass production allowed media to be financially supported by advertising instead of direct sales of newspapers or magazines. The resultant economic logic saw readers as audiences and sought to maximize their numbers. This coincided with the increasing concentration of populations in urban settings, removed from the social and cultural supports of the village and town. These audiences began to be thought of as “mass” audiences, and the content of media began to reflect more generalized class tastes.A debate has raged ever since over how the resulting relationship between the mass audience and the mass media is to be seen. To some observers, the media ideologically dominate the audience. To others, the media act as a kind of cultural canvas on which is inscribed the more or less common themes, ideas, and discourses of the culture.



5.1     SUMMARY

In this study, our focus was to examine the the roles of the mass media in the fight against religious crisis using residents of Dekina LGA  as a case study. The study specifically was aimed at highlighting  the causes of religious crisis in Nigeria. identify the benefits of media reportage to the society

To examine the media challenges of crisis reportage.understand the prevalence of religious crisis in Nigeria. The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 77 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are drawn from residents of Dekina local government area


Based on the finding of this study, the following conclusions were made:

  1. through making some religious groups feel superior,
  2. delineating different religious groups
  3. delineating different religious groups
  4. Bribery and corruption
  5. Been biase in the report of the crisis
  6. Inability to get the real fact about the story


Based on the responses obtained, the researcher proffers the following recommendations:

  • culture of forgiveness must transcend words but reflected in social relationships and even influence government policies which may require putting in place social and physical structures that symbolize such forgiveness and unity of decision to emphasize forgiveness rather than retaliation
  • sermons at Christian services and other gatherings and kutbas at mosques and other Muslims gatherings should be devoid of incitement against other religious adherents


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  • Barker, Larry L. (1987). Groups in Process: An Introduction to Small Group Communication. New York: Prentice Hall.
  • Boer, J. H. (1988). Christianity and Islam under Colonialism in Nigeria. Jos, Nigeria: ICS
  • Boer, J. H. (2004a), Nigeria’s Decades of Blood: 1980-2002: Studies in Christian-Muslim Relation, Vol. 2. Jos, Nigeria: Stream Christian Publishers.
  • Boer, J. H. (2004b). Christian: Why This Muslim Violence: Studies in Christian-Muslim Relation,. Vol. 3. Jos, Nigeria: MoreBooks
  • Crampton, E. P. T. and Gaiya, Musa A. B. (2004). Christianity in Northern Nigeria. Kaduna, Nigeria: Baraka Press.