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Hostile gatekeeping: The strategy of engaging with journalists in extremism reporting

Tasiu Abubakar, A. ORCID: 0000-0003-2746-6380 (2019). Hostile gatekeeping: The strategy of engaging with journalists in extremism reporting. Defence Strategic Communications, 5(Autumn), pp. 51-87. doi: 10.30966/2018.riga.5.2.


This article broadly examines the relationship between strategic communications and journalism with specific reference to the issue of violent extremism. Using a case study of reporting on the Boko Haram conflict in Nigeria, it analyses the nature and consequences of engagement among the various communicators involved. The primary data were drawn from focus groups and individual interviews with thirty-two journalists and strategic communicators, and from analysis of Boko Haram videos and Nigerian security forces’ press releases. The findings suggest that journalists have a tense but interdependent relationship with strategic communicators that is characterised by conflict and cooperation, harassment and intimidation. Strategic communicators’ control of the conflict theatre and use of the Internet to reach audiences directly give them leverage in the relationship. They, however, rely on journalists to help enhance the reach and credibility of their narratives, while journalists depend significantly on their media releases.

Publication Type: Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
U Military Science
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Journalism
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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