SOCIAL MEDIA AND DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS IN NIGERIA
This study analyzed how online news media covered the 2015 presidential election in Nigeria. The aim is to establish the level of attention different parties received, portrayal of the parties and direction of reports. Three online media Viz: Sahara Reporters, Scan news and Premium Times were purposively selected. The period of the study was 1st January to 27th March 2015. A total of three hundred and twenty-three (323) items (news and feature articles) that touched on the 2015 presidential election were generated through Google search and websites of the three media. One hundred and sixty nine (169) items were randomly selected as the sample size. Data were analyzed using frequencies and simple percentages. Findings revealed that PDP and APC received most attention from the media with PDP having the highest number of reports. Aside the two parties, all the remaining parties were mostly invincible in the reports published by the media during the period studied. It was also discovered that the media were more interested in conflict related matters than issues like voter’s education. Among other recommendations made, the researcher called on government communication regulatory bodies to organize special workshop for online journalists on issues of ethics and responsible practice while legal and technological strategies need to be designed to curtail excesses of online journalists.
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