MONITORING OF ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES IN SELECTED PRINT MEDIA IN NIGERIA.

The project is a study of a section of the Nigerian media between the period of January 17 to March 17 2005 initiated and piloted by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA). HEDA is a non-governmental organization set up to provide leadership in advancing human and environmental rights in public policies and programmes.

The project’s aim is to ultimately alert the print media to the need for increase in the awareness and consciousness for the environment in Nigeria.  HEDA’s emphasis however is the grassroots’ perspective.  This is with a view to educating the mass of the people on the need for environmental protection and sustainable development. This informed the decision to focus on the mass media being the most accessible agent of education and enlightenment.

Five national newspapers and four news magazines were monitored for the exercise. The daily newspapers are The Guardian, Thisday, The Punch, Vanguard and Comet while the choice weekly magazines are The News, Tell, Newswatch and The Week.

HEDA noted that none of the selected news magazines featured any story at all on the subject of environment. This clearly suggests that these magazines are yet to reckon with the significance of environment and its potentials for sustainable development

The newspapers’ disposition is not quite inspiring either. The Guardian newspaper takes the lead in coverage. Guardian published 55 stories in all. Punch was next with a total of 50 stories. The Vanguard recorded a total number of 47 stories within the period. Comet newspaper comes in the fourth position with Thisday trailing behind all with 28 and 27 stories respectively.

All the monitored daily newspapers published stories on the environment while the monitoring lasted. Each of them however featured them differently under variously styled specialised pages.  None of them has a dedicated page for the environment and or related matters. It must be stressed that the commitment accorded it differs from one paper to the other. HEDA strongly feels that a lot needs be done to improve environmental reporting by the print media.