Media Power and Nigeria's Consolidating Democracy
In emerging democracies with weak public institutions, low literacy level, deep-seated ethnic rivalry, and history of centralized, authoritarian rule; to what extent does media agenda-setting influence the political process? The press/politics nexus in consolidating democracies is critical to understanding intricate yet overlapping connexion between politics and development in the Third World. This study examined if media-power shape elections and regime outcomes in Nigeria? Using semi-structured interviews (and incorporating News-Game research tool), findings indicate that Nigeria's two-decade-old democracy remains volatile, fragile, and vulnerable. This vulnerability is complicated by long-standing religious, ethno-regional political suspicions; and overburdened with shifting media ecology, particularly social media disinformation and propaganda. These complexities allow a politics of privilege, class, and power that not only ensures its preservation but also insulates the political elite from public outcry and media pressure. In conclusion, evidence indicates that media power exerts limited influence on elections and regime outcomes. The study recommends renewed effort to investigate power.
Keywords: Nigerian politics, agenda-setting, mass media, democracy, underdevelopment