Framing and Priming of Terrorism In The Media: Analysis of Audience Perception of Boko Haram Coverage
This study was designed to determine the audience perception of the media framing and priming of terrorism with particular reference to narratives on the activities, motivation and credibility, victims and counter-terrorism operations as reflected in the coverage of Boko Haram insurgence in Nigeria. Survey method was used for gathering the data with the population sampled by means of Daniel’s Biostatics formula. Using Lazarsfeld’s Two-Step Flow and its Diffusion Model of Influence, respondents were purposively picked from members of the public who are most likely to provide opinion leadership based on information obtained via newspapers, English version of news on radio and television and online sources. In the end, apart from the fact that the audience perceive Boko Haram issues as dominant in the news cycle, the study also reveals that religious extremism is the dominant media frame; and with the insurgents portrayed as better equipped and tactically more superior. The victims of attacks are also perceived to have been framed and primed as hopeless, helpless, angry and depressed. It is therefore recommended among others that while the media embark on reporting terror and related issues, they should do so in a way that undermine terrorist
operations and highlight issues that encourage both the psychological and physical safety of the citizenry and map out a path for collective security and
advancement of peace initiatives.