HENRY CHIMARAOKE AKAKWANDU
INFLUENCE OF ONLINE COMMENTS ON RUGA SETTLEMENT CONTROVERSY AMONG RESIDENTS IN ORUMBA NORTH LGA, ANAMBRA STATE
Online comments sure eulogize the democratization of information orchestrated by the new media. Members of the public now upload details (user generated contents)on issues of national importance. This paper therefore studied the influence of such user generated contents on the RUGA controversy with its ethno political and ethno religious colorations. The Agenda Setting and the Social Judgment theories provided the theoretical anchor for the study. Survey research design was adopted for the study. A sample size of 346 was selected as sample size from a population of 3500 using the Krejcie and Morgan table for sample determination. Data was collected and analyzed using the Likert Scale in line with the three research questions that guided the study. Findings revealed that online comments maximally increased people’s awareness on the differing perspectives of the RUGA debate hence influenced opinion formation and expression on the issue maximally. Also the ethical bias expressed by citizen journalists multiplied the criticism against the RUGA plan. The study therefore concluded that user generated exerted much influence on opinion formation and expression against the plans of the federal government in this regard. This truism underscores why the government reversed its decision on the RUGA settlement. The study recommended that the government should much earlier carry out a trial balloon on sensitive issues before coming up with a policy statement. For the purpose of further research, the study recommended that the searchlight should be beamed on other ethnic regions to underscore the influence of such expressed bias on the reversal of the policy.
OKO JOURNAL OF COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION SCIENCE, VOLUME 3 NUMBER 1 FEBRUARY, 2020.
Online Comments, RUGA Policy, Influence
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