Authors: Ihediwa Samuel Chibundu, Md Sidin Ahmad Ishak
The world has been experiencing an astronomical increase in the number of crisis in recent times. Crises resulting from economic, political, health, environmental and social situations among others appear to threaten global population. From the earthquake in Japan and Haiti, to the global economic recession, the role of newspapers in reporting crisis cannot be relegated to the background, even in the face of competition from the social media. Nigeria and Malaysia are no exception to crisis and each of them do experience crisis now and then. The news media has a unique and exceptionally important role to play when covering a national crisis. Accurate and appropriate information about a crisis is an expectation that is required if the government of a country wants to allay fears from the public. This is because modern democracy depends on a vibrant news media to keep the public informed. At no point is this more important than in times of crisis. This is a comparative study on how newspapers in Malaysia and Nigeria reported political, economic, health and environmental crises that the two countries experienced from 2007 to 2009. The research used content analysis to compare the coverage by newspapers in the two countries. This is aimed at determining the differences in the rate of coverage, and also to observe the trend of crisis occurrence in the two countries. The research relied on the media system dependency theory. One of the findings of the paper is that Nigerian newspapers have significantly reported more crises than the Malaysian newspapers.
Keywords: Crisis reporting, Malaysian newspapers, Nigerian newspapers, media, journalists