THE MEDIA PRIMING OF THE 2015 NIGERIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN SELECTED NEWSPAPERS
The mass media is a veritable institution which influences theperceptions that the public have of other segments of society .Issues such as economy, religion, entertainment education, politics,among other are most time shaped by their representation in the media.Specifically, politicians need the media as a campaign platform to interact with people in the society to present their manifestoes and gain the support of the electorates. According to Center for Democracy and Governance Bureau for Global Programs, Field Support, and Research U.S. Agency for International Development Washington, D.C.:
Access to information is essential to the health of democracy for at least two reasons. First, it ensures that citizens make responsible, informed choices rather than acting out of ignorance or misinformation. Second, information serves a “checking function” by ensuring that elected representatives uphold their oaths of office and carry out the wishes of those who elected them. In some societies, an antagonistic relationship between media and government represents a vital and healthy element of fully functioning democracies.
The media is the primary means through which public opinion is shaped and at times manipulated”. (ACE Newsletter cited in https://aceproject.org/ace-en/topics/me). The media can form, reverse or modify the public opinion of a people in various ways depending on the goals and objectives of the media. Therefore, candidates that can afford to pay for more airtime, space and advertisement in any media have more influence on people’s opinion can more likely tilt votes. The ACE Newsletter on Media and Election posits that:
The media is very efficient when it comes to altering the perception of voters, information, attitudes as well as behavior. It is evident that the media could have an influence on the election campaigns and the evaluations that people would have of political candidates. The media would act as a spotlight on the various issues the public would be primed to pay attention to during elections. That is, the media would determine the key issues electorates are to focus on during elections and the criteria that can be used to judge politicians.
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