The relationship between media and politics is undeniably strong and inseparable. In the emerging democracies across Africa and Asia, the management of this relationship has remained pivotal to the stability and growth of social and political institutions as well the deepening of democratic culture. Given the sensitivity of media role in politics, especially surveillance, social mobilization and mediation, the politics of media is instructive because it determines the control of ‘access’ and how the media performs its functions in the political sphere. All over the world, advances in communication technologies and consequent digitalization of media platforms are changing the dynamics of both media politics and media in politics. In Nigeria, the growth in internet penetration and the proliferation of smartphones have profoundly impacted media functions and the politics surrounding them. This paper examines the implications of digitalization, in terms of the liberalization of content creation and transmission, on the ownership structure of media and communication institutions as well on the performance of their social and political responsibilities. As political gladiators across the globe battle to control the menace of ‘fake news’ and ‘hate speeches’, this paper interrogates the relevance of a digitalized media to the sustenance of democracy in Nigeria. From the lenses of Technological Determinism Theory and Social Responsibility Theory, the study argues that a re-evaluation and periodic re-engineering of both media politics and the role of the media in Nigerian politics are critical to the evolution of its democracy in a digital age.
Digital Age, Digitalization, Gatekeeping, Mediatization, Social Responsibility, Democratic Culture
Head of Department, Communication and Media Enterprise, Pan Atlantic University, Lagos., Nigeria