Agent of change or stability? The Nigerian press undermines democracy

Mercy Ette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the role of the press in military-mediated transition programs in Nigeria. It takes as a starting point the understanding that for democracy to thrive, civil society must have access to information that could empower the electorate to make informed political decisions.The article argues that though the press in Nigeria covered the transition programs implemented by Generals Murtala Mohammed and Olusegun Obasanjo (1978-79) and General Ibrahim Babangida (1986-93) extensively, its pattern of coverage did not promote democratization.The editorial direction and presentation of key political actors of the periods were more likely to consolidate military rule than to facilitate democratic transformation. In fact, the press generally served as an agent of stability for the military instead of being an agent of change to democracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-86
Number of pages20
JournalHarvard International Journal of Press/Politics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2000


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