Aderonke Ronke Osuntokun
Research student, School of Journalism, Media and Culture
- Two Central Square, Central Square, Cardiff, CF10 1FS
I am a PhD student at Cardiff University's School of Journalism, Media and Culture Studies. My research is centered around Female Genital Mutilation and how it is represented in Nigerian newspapers.
My background as a Libarian/Information Scientist makes me interested in:
Sources of information (books, newspapers, internet etc.)
Information needs (identification and analysis)
FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION: CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES AND MEDIA REPRESENTATION
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is an ubiquitous pratice in many regions of Africa and other parts of the world. It is practised predomonantly as a cultural practice. It continues unabated despite documented complications and its declaration as a human rights violation and a form of child abuse by international bodies such as the United Nations and the World Health Organisation. Nigeria has the highest absolute FGM figures globally. South-West Nigeria is also documented as having the highest rate of FGM in Nigeria. This thesis is a study on how Nigerian newspapers represent FGM. Studying how the Nigerian press represents FGM requires an understanding of the (interrelated) cultural dynamics that drive the practice - one cannot be studied without the other. Therefore this study is two-fold. The first part focuses on understanding the cultural meanings of FGM through reviewing the literature in the field and a thematic analysis of indepth interviews conducted with 20 people drawn from a practicing community in South-West Nigeria (and 3 interviews in the UK). The second part presents a content analysis of selected Nigerian press coverage from 2010 to 2017. One chapter is dedicated to a comparative analysis of FGM newspaper reports from anaother country (The UK), to give a sense of the extent and nature of Nigerian coverage in the comparative context.
Findings reveal the reasons for the persistence of FGM ranging from ideas about marriageability (linked to promiscuity) to cultural and identity reasons. The media were identified as one decisive factor that aid FGM's persistence with the study revealing that although coverage in the Nigerian press increased between 2010 and 2017, it remained relatively sparse compared to UK coverage and that most press attention was prompted by legal moves, capaigns and specific 'awareness days' rather than being proactively created by Nigerian journalists. This thesis also highlights how seldom FGM survivors themselves were quoted as sources or given a central place in reports in Nigerian newspapers. The thesis concludes with reflection on implications of the findings for the literature in this area, a summary of limitations of the study nad suggestions for future research. It also discusses how media coverage might be improved and how to develop policies to further refine efforts to combat FGM in Nigeria.