• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Education, health, security received less media coverage during 2023 general elections – report

Issues such as education, health, security, and others that are critical to the country’s development received less media coverage during the 2023 general elections, a report by Dataphyte says.

The report, titled “The Media Agenda-Setting Role: Insights from the Coverage of Nigeria’s 2023 Elections,” looked at the role of the media as an opinion moulder during the election.

“Despite the proliferation of social media, mainstream media still wields substantial influence in shaping the narrative surrounding elections, especially at the subnational level, where television and radio are still king,” the report says.

The research focused on ten national and 36 state media platforms in 18 states for two and a half months.

32 topics were analysed in 5,999 news items during this period. The topics were classified into programmatic, non-programmatic, and unknown.

Programmatic classification refers to topics that focus on issues such as education, health, science, gender, etc. Non-programmatic classification refers to political intrigues and drama, campaign activities, election logistics, and others. The unknown classification is for issues not fit for the two others.

80% of the news items monitored focused on non-programmatic, only 19.8% focused on programmatic issues, the report noted.

“News reports focused on the activities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), party politics and intrigues, and covered campaigns. Linkages to issues impacting the polity did not receive as much coverage. The implication is that media coverage did not link to issues critical to the country’s development.

“Nigeria had been facing significant economic challenges in the lead-up to the election; the poor state of the economy, insecurity and banditry, and subsidy removal were some hot topics. Yet, only 19.8% of news coverage of the elections was linked to these critical issues,” the report says.