The influence of media on political knowledge amongst undergraduate students in Ibadan, Nigeria
Knowledge about politics and government activities increases due to the socialization and enlightenment functions of the mass media. Youths and students are the largest bloc of voters in Nigeria but seemingly least political informed. This study examines the frequency of the forms of media accessed and level of political knowledge among Nigerian students. It also assessed the relationships between political knowledge and access to radio, television, newspaper, and social media. Moreover, it investigated the predictive influence of the frequency of media access on Nigerian students’ political knowledge. The study adopted Uses and Gratification Theory (UGT) to explain how media is used to the advantage of people. Using cross-sectional survey research design, a structured questionnaire was used to collect information on students’ demographic, frequency of media access and knowledge of Nigerian politics from 246 randomly selected students of the Polytechnic, Ibadan (Mean age is 25.07 years, SD = 6.23). Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data. Findings identified social media as the most frequently use media, followed by radio, television and newspaper.31% of the respondents had very high political knowledge while 3% had no political knowledge. Access to radio is the only significant correlate (r = 0.42, p<0.05) and independent predictor (β= 0.43, t=-3.98, p<0.05) of political knowledge although access to radio, television, newspaper and social media are significant joint predictors of political knowledge (R2= .18, F (4, 241) = 4.32). Therefore, the study concludes that radio is the foremost source of political knowledge amongst undergraduate students in Ibadan, Nigeria. It recommends that various media institutions and political analysts should take advantage of the social media to make more audience politically knowledgeable.
Keywords: Political knowledge; Mass media; Social media; Traditional media; Nigerian students.