Riots that erupted in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna over a newspaper article that some Muslims interpreted as blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad on account of Nigeria’s decision to host the 2002 edition of the Miss World beauty pageant captured the attention of the media around the world. This article investigates how the British press framed the riots in their opinion columns and editorials. Through an interpretive textual analysis of the opinion pages, the study shows that while the ideological persuasions of left-leaning British press predisposed them to express opinions on the Miss World riots that resonated with what might loosely be characterized as the “Islamic perspective,” those of the conservative British press shared ideological similarities with what might be considered the standpoints of the “liberal,” predominantly Christian, southern Nigerian newspapers. This highlights the limited utility of such facile labels as “liberal” and “conservative” in describing the ideological temperaments of the press. It also problematizes notions of media imperialism and exposes the theoretical and empirical inadequacy of gazing at local religious conflicts from the perspectives of international religious contexts.
Asia Pacific Media Educator
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