Should we Keep this Quiet? Print Media and Child Marriage in Nigeria
Child marriage is an issue that has become a scourge to some girl-children in Nigeria. These girls are unaware of the consequences of this act on their health and wellbeing. The Child Rights Act which was passed in Nigeria in 2003 puts the age of marriage at 18 years old, but sometimes in Nigeria girls are married off before their 18th birthday and most times, they are faced with a lot of health challenges which could be curbed through effective information, education and communication. The study examined the print media report of child marriage in Nigeria and looked at the theme of reportage of child marriage in the print media and how the newspapers presented stories about child marriage. The study employed the agenda setting and media framing theories, and content analysed two Nigerian newspapers from 2013 to 2016. The study explored the prominence given to the coverage of child marriage, the dominant themes covered on child marriage and the framing of child marriage by the newspapers. Findings showed that there has not been enough focus on child marriage in Nigeria and that some of the news stories did not explain in details the implications and consequences of child marriage to the Nigerian girl-child. The study therefore recommended that the print media should put more effort in educating the masses on the issue of child marriage.
Nwaolikpe Onyinyechi Nancy