Joe, Sarah Chidiebere (2020) Perspectives of Reality: The Framing of Boko Haram in Legacy and Social Media. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This thesis examines media framing of Boko Haram, a transnational terrorist organisation, in four Nigerian national newspapers and on Twitter. The study takes as its starting point a widely held view about a symbiotic relationship between the media and terrorism and argues that media framing of terrorism is driven by a variety of critical factors. It details how external factors such as the nature of the Nigeria state, the Nigerian media ecology, and internal variables such as professional norms of journalism, the logic and affordances of media platforms produce both convergent and divergent frames. The study answers two key questions by applying an integrated methodology to a wide range of data extracted from legacy media, represented by four newspapers, and social media, represented by Twitter. A combination of qualitative and quantitative analysis was adopted for the study in order to decode and capture the nuances and depth of the framing of Boko Haram. Data analysis using Computer-assisted Hierarchical Cluster Analysis (CHCA) and Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis (MCDA) revealed six conceptual tools that were used in the representation of Boko Haram on the studied platforms. These include Social Consequences, War against Boko Haram, War against Women, Attribution of Responsibility, Religious Polarisation, and Economic Consequences frames. This thesis argues that the framing of Boko Haram in the media reveals the polarised nature of the Nigerian press, Nigeria’s socio-political and economic realities, and popular global narratives about terrorism. It also asserts that the construction of Boko Haram is shaped by the values, routines, norms, logic, and affordances of media platforms. However, the portrayal of the group on the selected platforms fails to present a complete picture by excluding some aspects of the Boko Haram narrative. In addition, some of the representations inadvertently serve the objectives of terrorists and/or authorities that the media is there to hold responsible. Although the group has been the subject of many framing research, most studies have focused on the representation of the group in legacy media. As a result, there is a dearth of knowledge about its construction on networked platforms even though these newer platforms are important daises for political communication. This study fills this gap in the literature and responds to the paucity of integrative framing studies by examining how words and images are used in the representation of Boko Haram on the selected platforms.

FINAL THESIS - Joe.pdf - Accepted Version
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