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Press Coverage of Child Trafficking In Nigeria a Content Analysis of Daily Sun and Vanguard Newspapers

Press Coverage of Child Trafficking In Nigeria a Content Analysis of Daily Sun and Vanguard Newspapers

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Abstract

Trafficking in children which is always a problem continues to be a subject of considerable media coverage in Nigeria. Most victims are abducted or leave home with the traffickers who promise educational opportunities or other incentives.

They are taken to places in foreign and local countries. The press has an imperatives role to play in reporting child trafficking as the fourth estate of the realm, the watch dog of the society and agenda setting machinery. The main objective was to critically examine the performance of the newspapers toward adequate coverage of child trafficking.

The study made use of social responsibility theory and agenda theory to find out how the media create awareness on the ills of child trafficking. The study set out primarily at content analyzing issues of Daily Sun and Vanguard newspapers on child trafficking in Nigeria for period of twelve months. Code sheet was used. Based on a system sampling technique, a sample size of 118 newspapers was selected for over period of one year which runs two respective years of reportage (September 2007 – August 2008).

Based on the findings from the content analyzed newspapers, it was discovered that the selected newspapers did not farewell in their coverage of child trafficking. Both newspapers did not give prominence to the stories reported as almost all were buried in the inside pages. Recommendations were made based on the findings. 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Trafficking in person (TIP) especially children as well as child abuse and forced labour constitute some of the cruel deviations from the concept of societal upbringing of a child. The severe exploitations, abuses and deprivations meted out on these children under trafficking in persons and forced labour conditions have proved inimical to their development and by extension that of the society.

A continuation of such abuses and exploitations would seriously undermine the developmental capacity of children, thereby mortgaging the future of the entire nation. According to, Mrs Carol Ndaguba, the Executive Secretary of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and other related matters (NAPTIP) stated that most of the needs of the children are those that enhance their growth and development from infancy to adulthood.

At this stage of the child development, the most important issue is the provision of amenities and enabling socio-cultural –environment suitable for the sustained enhancement of the mental, physical, social health of the child and ultimately society.

The seed of reproduction that the Almighty God put inside man ensures the continued existence of the human species throughout history and will continue till the end of time. It is with such understanding that humans cherish, protect and nurture their young ones especially when they consider that these children are very defenseless and inevitably dependent on their immediate human and material environment to cater for their numerous needs.

Hence, as important as the statement relating to child trafficking and abuse would be, the press coverage on issues concerning children is essential. Many children are being abused, raped and trafficked to places where they are subjected to unwarranted treatment. The press as the watch dog of the society has a social responsibility to undertake on reports concerning child trafficking in their articles, opinions, features, news.

Uchem (2008:3) posits that after over two hundred years since the official abolition of slave trade, and slavery, slave trade has re-appeared in a new form known as human trafficking. Nwodu (2004:217) states that a background of the study must be able to point striking mental picture of the scenario that gave rise to the study.

In other wise, the cause of the study arises from the assumption that children are being under reported in the mass media. The contents and pages given to children in the newspapers are seemingly not enough for adequate report on children. Nigerian children are relatively developed compared to their peers in other sub Saharan Africa because Nigeria is being rated as first among the ten poorest countries with average of two children out of hundred living a happy life . Several reports have shown that Nigerians are in the habit of child trafficking within and outside the country.

Press Coverage of Child Trafficking In Nigeria a Content Analysis of Daily Sun and Vanguard Newspapers

It is based on these problems that the study is critically to be carried out. According to information obtained from Ehindero(2002:68), Majority of the internally trafficked persons were from rural to urban cities of Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Anambra, Kaduna, Ondo, Oyo, Ogun, Rivers, Edo, and Osun States which are the major destination states in Nigeria. Furthermore an analysis of results of previous studies shows that trafficking in persons takes place within a complex multinational construct of interacting variables such as demographic (population, migration, fertility rate.)

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socio – economic(poverty)human rights (abuse and violations of persons rights), culture(gender discrimination and bias, belief system, attitudes, values and perceptions), education(ignorance, illiteracy, lack of educational opportunities, irrelevant curricula) and politics(political will and leadership).

In order to combat this menace and to ensure a brighter future for the entire country, the federal government through the trafficking in persons (prohibition), law enforcement and administration act 2003 created National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and other related matters (NAPTIP) in August 2003 and saddled the agency with the responsibility of investigating and prosecuting offenders as well as rehabilitating victims of the crime of trafficking in persons.

To further underscore the determination of government to nip these aforementioned problems in the bud, the NAPTIP Act was amended on December 7, 2005 to give more impetus to the prosecutorial powers of the agency. One of the main highlight of the amended Act is the issue of using children as domestic help in different households.

 The amendment brought out clearly the offence of child slavery in the disguise of child domestics. It provides that a child (that is a person under the age of 18years) is prohibited from working as a child domestic outside his family environment. This provision further lends support to similar provision in the labour Act, Cap198 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (1990) and child Rights Act 2003.

Adebayo (2001:188) states that it is rather unfortunate that poverty and selfishness in many homes have corrupted the African culture of fostering as it has been criminally exploited by traffickers to subject innocent children of school age to forced labour at homes, factories, plantation, offices and streets. Child trafficking in Nigeria has flourished despite constitutional provisions outlawing slavery and forced labour in section 34(1) of 1999 constitution which stated that every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person and accordingly-(a) no person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment; (b) no person shall be held in slavery or servitude; and (c) no person shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.

Sections 223-225 of the criminal code, applicable in southern Nigeria, provide for sanctions against whoever trades in prostitution and facilitates the transport of human being within or outside Nigeria for commercial purposes. Likewise articles 278-280 of the penal code, operative in the northern states forbid and punish the buying and selling of minors for immoral purpose, buying or disposing of slaves and unlawful compulsory labour. In 1998, the constitutional right project raised the alarm on what they called child trafficking and slavery in Nigeria.

 In the past African were caught, shackled, manacled and shipped across American to create wealth for their captors in their sugar cane, tobacco and cotton plantations. Abubakar (2001:74) observed that the Africans transported have been estimated to range from 10million-30million. The situation describe above has taken a contemporary dimension in what is today known as human trafficking. Realizing that human trafficking is a global problem United Nations (UN) convention against organized crime was held in December 2000.

The convention gave a breakdown of the number of people trafficked around the world annually. These are mostly women and children, while an estimated 35 percent of all these people trafficked globally are children under the age of eighteen years. Back home in Nigeria, it was reported by the Nigerian police, women trafficking and child labour eradication foundation (WOTCLEF) and National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and other related matters (NAPTIP) that between March 2000 and April 2005 about 1550 children trafficked out of the country were deported from various countries.

The figure according to the report excludes the dead, the maimed and those that sneaked back into the country. A 1998 UNICEF study indicated that 4000 children were trafficked from various parts of Nigeria as well as to other countries within the region. These necessitated the need to content analyze The Sun and Vanguard newspapers on child trafficking in Nigeria.

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1.2 Statement of the Problem

The vantage position that children occupy in any society cannot be overemphasized. It is rightly expected that for there to be continuity in human existence in the society the presence of children is needed. This is because when the adults’ finally pass to the great beyond or when they get too old to carry on with life activities, today’s children are expected to take their positions.

Based on the foregoing, it is quite annoying therefore seeing these children undergo series of neglect, slave trade, abuse, dehumanisation and torture of some sorts in the name of child trafficking. Annually, thousands of children are reportedly smuggled across borders and sold as a mere commodities. As a result of this ugly trend, their survival and development are incessantly threatened, their right to life, jeopardised. However, as children constitute untapped resources to every nation, the incessant nature of neglect, abuse and torture meted out on them in form of trafficking requires an empirical examination. This therefore forms the problem this study sought to investigate.

Press Coverage of Child Trafficking In Nigeria a Content Analysis of Daily Sun and Vanguard Newspapers

1.3 Significance of Study

This study would be significant in many respects. Firstly, the problem and development of Nigeria children affect every home directly or indirectly. Therefore studying and analysing the press coverage on issues of children is sine qua non to the overall development of Nigeria because it would serve as an insight into the conditions in which our children find themselves today and a guide for preparing them for meaningful contribution to development of the society.

Secondly, it will advance the frontier of knowledge in the field of mass communication and serve as a repository of knowledge and also contribute to the available literature in the field of mass communication, thirdly, the issues of child trafficking in Nigeria have become a serious matter and demands adequate attention by all and sundry. It will help National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and other related matters (NAPTIP), Government and other Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) to assess how far the press has covered issues bothering on child trafficking. Finally, it will serve as a reference material for future researchers.

1.4 Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this study include:

  1. To find out the level of coverage given to child trafficking by Daily Sun and Vanguard newspapers?
  2. To find out the nature of the story used to implement appropriate strategies to combat child trafficking.
  3. To find out if Daily Sun and Vanguard newspapers carry reports on child trafficking in Nigeria.
  4. To find out how far the media have sensitize the society about the ills of child trafficking in Nigeria.
  5. To know whether the newspapers under study promotes and enforce the rights of the child for survival, development and protection.
  6. To know the direction of reports on children covered in the selected newspapers (Daily Sun and Vanguard).

1.5 Research Questions

For the purpose of this study the following questions are posed to guide this research.

  1. What is the level of coverage given to child trafficking by Daily Sun and Vanguard newspapers?
  2. Do Daily Sun and Vanguard newspapers carry editorials on child trafficking?
  3. How often do Daily Sun and Vanguard newspapers carry report on child trafficking in Nigeria?
  4. To what extent does the press cover issues of child trafficking in Nigeria?
  5. What prominence do the selected newspapers give to issues on child trafficking in Nigeria?
  6. What is the direction of child trafficking issues covered in Daily Sun and Vanguard newspapers?

1.6 Theoretical Framework

The study is anchored within the context of two vital theories namely: Social Responsibility Theory and the Agenda Setting Theory. These theories will be used to explain or interpret some phenomenon because its basic tenets are fundamental to the understanding of the subject under study. Okunna (2002:277) states that Social Responsibility Theory of the press is largely an extension of libertarian theory.

In their word the theory places emphasis on the moral and social responsibility of person who, and institutions which operate the mass media, that is to say that the media suppose to be socially responsible to the society in all aspect. Folarin (2002:31) explains further by saying that social responsibility theory owes its origin to Hutchins Commission on freedom of the press, set up in the United States of America in 1947 to re-examine the concept of press freedom as enunciated in libertarian of free theory. Based on the postulation, social responsibility theory of the press asserts that the media should accept and fulfil certain obligations to the society such as:

  1. Provide the public with information and discussion on important social issues and the avoidance of the activities harmful to the public welfare and security of the state.
  2. That through professional standard of in formativeness, truth, accuracy, objectivity and balance, these obligations can be met.
  3. That the media should regulate itself within the frame work of law and established institutions to be able to carry out its responsibilities.
  4. Based on the principle the society has the right to expect high standard of performance from the media.
  5. That the media should reflect its society‘s plurality giving access to various points of view and grant all the right to reply.
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This study is anchored on this theory to ascertain how far Vanguard and Daily Sun newspapers have been able to fulfill these responsibilities of being accountable to the society. Children who are the future leaders of tomorrow, are supposed to be given a serious attention to their issues, irrespective of their nature so that the government and the public will be informed and necessary action will taken. Another theory that was adopted in the analysis in this study is Agenda Setting Theory.

 Baran (2007:108) maintains that the theory propose that the public agenda or what kind of thing people discuss, think and worry about is powerfully shaped and directed by what the news media chose to publicise. While Wimmer and Dominick (2005:408) argues that Agenda setting research examines the relationship between media priorities and audience priorities in the relative importance of news topics.

This means that if the news media decide to give the most time and space to covering issues concerning children, child trafficking in the society will be reduced and it will become the most important item on the audience agenda. If the newspapers under study devote their time in reporting the issues concerning children as often as possible they will not only emphasize the importance but also will give the public what to think about the children as regards their well being as the future hopes of the nation. Nigeria will also rate children as the most important issue to them.

Press Coverage of Child Trafficking In Nigeria a Content Analysis of Daily Sun and Vanguard Newspapers

Press Coverage of Child Trafficking In Nigeria a Content Analysis of Daily Sun and Vanguard Newspapers

Press Coverage of Child Trafficking In Nigeria a Content Analysis of Daily Sun and Vanguard Newspapers

Press Coverage of Child Trafficking In Nigeria a Content Analysis of Daily Sun and Vanguard Newspapers

Press Coverage of Child Trafficking In Nigeria a Content Analysis of Daily Sun and Vanguard Newspapers

Press Coverage of Child Trafficking In Nigeria a Content Analysis of Daily Sun and Vanguard Newspapers

Press Coverage of Child Trafficking In Nigeria a Content Analysis of Daily Sun and Vanguard Newspapers

Press Coverage of Child Trafficking In Nigeria a Content Analysis of Daily Sun and Vanguard Newspapers

Press Coverage of Child Trafficking In Nigeria a Content Analysis of Daily Sun and Vanguard Newspapers

Press Coverage of Child Trafficking In Nigeria a Content Analysis of Daily Sun and Vanguard Newspapers

Press Coverage of Child Trafficking In Nigeria a Content Analysis of Daily Sun and Vanguard Newspapers

Press Coverage of Child Trafficking In Nigeria a Content Analysis of Daily Sun and Vanguard Newspapers

Press Coverage of Child Trafficking In Nigeria a Content Analysis of Daily Sun and Vanguard Newspapers

Press Coverage of Child Trafficking In Nigeria a Content Analysis of Daily Sun and Vanguard Newspapers

Press Coverage of Child Trafficking In Nigeria a Content Analysis of Daily Sun and Vanguard Newspapers

Press Coverage of Child Trafficking In Nigeria a Content Analysis of Daily Sun and Vanguard Newspapers

Press Coverage of Child Trafficking In Nigeria a Content Analysis of Daily Sun and Vanguard Newspapers

Press Coverage of Child Trafficking In Nigeria a Content Analysis of Daily Sun and Vanguard Newspapers

Mr. Harrison

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