This briefing presents the findings of an ACE research consortium media project focused on coverage of corruption related stories during the 2015 and 2019 election cycles in Nigeria. The aim was to interrogate the nature of media reporting on corruption in terms of the issues covered, styles of reportage and political stances to ascertain the impact, if any, on anti-corruption efforts and policy takeaways.
Based on our understanding of the political settlement of a ‘typical’ developing country – Nigeria included – our hypothesis was that truly independent reporting is difficult to implement as powerful political interests impede investigative and analytical journalism. Independent reporting does not mean that media organisations have to be neutral. Quite the opposite. It means that all parts of the political spectrum have the opportunity for their voices to be heard and, where necessary, are investigated in the media.
We also propose recommendations for improving the impact of Nigeria's media on addressing corruption.