FRAMING ANALYSIS OF NEWSPAPER COVERAGE OF GAY-RIGHTS ISSUES IN NIGERIA
The legal recognition of homosexuality became a contentious issue at the turn of the twenty first century. Following the recent outcry against same sex practice in Nigeria and buoyed by heavy resentment of it, a law criminalizing same sex relationship was enacted. The law – same sex marriage (prohibition) act has been variously attacked and praised by different segments of Nigerians. As a social construction whose meanings are culturally contested, newspapers do not only provide a platform for the contexts under which homosexuality is discussed and understood but also contribute to shaping public understanding on the issue. This study examined newspaper coverage of Gay Rights Issues in Nigeria. Five national newspapers’ (Daily Sun, the Nation, Daily Trust, Vanguard and the Leadership) editions between months of 1 November, 2013 – 31 October, 2014 were sampled using simple random and constructed sampling techniques. It employed content analysis with the code sheet as the instrument for data collection. It was found out that the newspapers overwhelmingly used morality frame among other frames; positive tone were mostly used when framing homosexuality and that newspapers combined texts and words that predominantly represented homosexuality as anti-culture; anti-religion and sexual abnormality and sparingly represented gay practice as a sexual right. Also, the results of descriptive statistics revealed variations in the pattern of frame usage among the newspapers with a significant difference (P<0.05). Based on the findings, it was recommended that newspapers’ attention should also focus on the effects of the homosexuality laws on the gays and lesbians in order create more human interest frame angle for representation on homosexuality; future researchers may examine the framing of homosexuality in television and online news forums; and that press content should highlight the implication of existing different homosexual law provisions as found in the penal code, criminal code and same sex marriage (prohibition) act in dispensation of justice on gay practice.