Social Media as the Fifth Estate in Nigeria

An Analysis of the 2012 Occupy Nigeria Protest

Temple Uwalaka, Jerry Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study examines the role that social media played in the organisation of the Occupy Nigeria protest and in holding mainstream media accountable during the protest. Using a mixed-methods research design, we interviewed 19 students from two liberal Nigerian universities who participated in the protest. We also analysed 13,031 contents from protesters’ Facebook posts and tweets of the Occupy Nigeria protests. Our data reveal that social media platforms were used most by the protesters to plan and organise for the 2012 Occupy Nigeria protest. Our findings also show that the local mainstream media acquiesced to the pressure from government officials by refusing to cover the protest at its inception until they were forced to do so by the protesters. This perceived inaction by the local mainstream media was cited by some of our interview participants as a source of motivation to participate in the protest. Using social capital theory, this paper argues that social media—the fifth estate—brought about interaction, socialisation, collective engagement, and liberation that was not present in the mainstream media.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-41
Number of pages20
JournalAfrican Journalism Studies
Volume39
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2018

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