The “Eboliticization” of discourse: Online legitimations on the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa
Working within the tenets of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and insights from Stanley Cohen’s sociological concept of Moral Panic (MP), this study examined the motivations behind some of the online reactions to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. News of the outbreak of the dreaded disease in some countries like Nigeria and the United States caused a great deal of fear and panic in public sphere and widened the personal/social spaces between individuals and altered traditional patterns of social behaviour. The space and the freedom provided by the internet enabled participants to express their sentiments and biases – all in reaction to the Ebola disease. It was discovered that public discourse on the disease did not tilt towards the medical but were political, racial and religious in the main.