Science, Nano-Science and Nano-Technology Content in Nigeria’s Elite and Popular Press: Focus on Framing and Socio-political Involvement

Herbert Batta, Clifford Ashong, Charles Obot


In Nigeria, there appears to be a gross paucity of research data on press framing of science. Moreover, we do not know how the print media frame nano-science and nano-technology which tend to hold some promise for Third World development. Neither do we know the extent of social inclusion nor the depth of political engagement in the communication of science and technology in the Nigerian press. This study investigates the extent to which science and nano-science are framed in one elite (The Guardian) and two popular newspapers (Daily Trust and Leadership); and if there is a significant difference in framing. It adopts the content analysis research technique involving a selection of newspapers between January 1 and December 31, 2012: the year Nigeria revised its Science and Technology Policy. Results indicate that: there is a near absence of nano-science content in the analysed papers while the coverage of other science issues abounds. Where it occurs at all, nano-science is framed as an emerging field. Frames dealing with risk/controversy, socio-economic implications, or safety/ethics rarely occur. Health/medicine, ICT, biotechnology, and high-tech issues are covered more than other science issues. Political actors, lay people, NGOs, corporations and community leaders are not significantly included in the coverage as are science publishers, scientists, the media, and government agencies. These findings have several implications for science journalism practice and development in Nigeria.

Keywords: Techno-science, media coverage, content analysis

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