Influence Of Hate Speech On Voters Choice In Abia State
The Nigerian and some Asia country’s media landscape over the years has projected numerous political campaigns that are hate speeches directed at the perceived opposition candidates and political party. This study examined the influence of hate speech on voters choice in Abia State using 2019 general elections as a case study. The study used a survey research design with a single cross-sectional research method. The study generated 464,393 registered voters as the study population. Using convenient sampling method to select 400 samples. The study, therefore, discovered that social media is the most channel of exposure by respondents on hate speech messages during the 2019 general election in Abia State with 66%. The study also found that the use of hate speech undermines the importance of political candidates with 72% in any given election. The study further discovered that the use of hate speech during elections influenced the voters by making them change from one candidate to the other with 82% thereby encouraging more votes against the opposition party. The implication of these findings has a strong influence on the way electorates undermine the importance of political issues and as such rendered political candidates and parties irrelevant with a critical effect on the credibility, fairness, and smooth running of any political landscape and the conduct of Nigerian elections in general. The paper proposes critical political education to electorates on voting behavior to promote good governance.
Table of Content
- Title Page
- Table of Content
- List of Tables
- 1.1 Background of the Study
- 1.2 Statement of the Problem
- 1.3 Objective of the Study
- 1.4 Research Questions
- 1.5 Research Hypothesis
- 1.6 Significance of the Study
- 1.7 Scope of the Study
- 1.8 Limitation of the Study
- 1.9 Definition of Terms
- 1.10 Organisations of the Study
Review of Literature
- 2.1 Conceptual Framework
- 2.2 Theoretical Framework
- 2.3 Empirical Review
- 3.1 Research Design
- 3.2 Population of the Study
- 3.3 Sample Size Determination
- 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
- 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
- 3.6 Method of Data Collection
- 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
- 3.8 Validity of the Study
- 3.9 Reliability of the Study
- 3.10 Ethical Consideration
Data Presentation and Analysis
- 4.1 Data Presentation
- 4.2 Analysis of Data
- 4.3 Answering Research Questions
- 4.4 Test of Hypotheses
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
- 5.1 Summary
- 5.2 Conclusion
- 5.3 Recommendation
1.1 Background of the Study
In some nations of Africa, democratization progress was rekindled during the 1990s, the era frequently labeled as the third upsurge of democratization . There are certain areas of advancement in terms of regular election and change of power, and setbacks in terms of widespread use of hate speech, rigging and electoral viciousness, political corruption during the process of democratization .
Democracy in Nigeria is hinged on party politics. Deplorably, the role of political parties in consolidating democracy and engendering national development in the country is greatly undermined by the modus operandi used by these political parties which are geared towards winning election contests by all means because of their desperation to secure, control and wield political power. This has made politicians resort to all sorts of illegal and immoral acts to ensure that they acquire political seats at all costs irrespective of what it takes . In the history of Nigeria’s politics, particularly since the first elections in the country under the 1922 Clifford Constitution, the political landscape in Nigeria has experienced series of crises that could be traced to hate speech, which is the bedrock of any political and electoral violence among other anti-social behaviors . Similarly, just like in Malaysian, communication delivery is also significant in relaying messages to the Nigeria public, which is evident from the last general elections. The pattern of message delivery showed a series of false news that made the election the most nerve-wracking election. However, unlike in some Afrincan countries, in Nigerian, hate speech includes acts of insulting persons for their faith; abusing people for their ethnic or dialectal connection; uttering contempt against individuals based on their origin; and deliberately spreading falsehood or rumors that demeans people . The campaigns of major political parties were characterized by a lot of oral attacks bereft of developmental, innovative as well as ideological ideas . Broadcast, print, and social media were used to propagate hate speech and sometimes from online posts and trends . For instance, the 2019 general elections where conventional media channels were glowing with campaigns of numerous political parties abusing the right of free speech as well as hate speech.
A national TV, (AIT) on June 7, 2019, was shut down by Nigerian Broadcasting Commission for airing hate induced documentary on Presidential election. In the Nigerian political arena, hate speech is mostly used to make the ground for hostile political struggle in preparation for general elections. In Abia State, hate speech message was made against many of the politician’s preludes to the election .
1.2 Statement of the Problem
All through the political campaigns, hate speech was used to mislead electorates . Because political actors are deficient in the necessary concepts to campaign and contest for political authority; hate speech becomes desirable as an avenue of getting to power . Though, hate speech in Nigerian politics can be traced to the First Republic (1960 to 1966) and turn out to be severe from 2010. Earlier studies showed that across Africa, elections are the settings for hate speech and skirmish. Rwanda’s massacre in 1994, Kenya’s election conflict in 2008, Burundi’s flawed election in 2015 then South Sudan protracted fights are instances of hate predisposed violence across Africa . Thus, hate speech induces intolerance in multicultural and multiethnic countries .
Similarly, studies have shown the extent to which hate speeches came up in Nigeria at the previous general . Not much has been done in looking at the impact of hate speech messages on voters’ choice of candidate, especially in Nigeria. Because of this, the study investigated the influence of hate speech on voters choice in the 2019 GE in Abia State, Nigeria.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The major of this study is to critically assess the influence of hate speech on voters choice. By extension, this study will specifically;
- Ascertain the channel of exposure to hate speech messages among voters in Abia state during the 2019 general election.
- Assess the perception of voters in Abia State on hate speech messages during the 2019 general election.
- Determine the influence of hate speech messages on voters in their choice of the candidate during the 2019 general elections.
1.4 Research Question
The study will be guided by the following questions;
- What is the channel of exposure to hate speech messages among voters in Abia state during the 2019 general election?
- What is the perception of voters in Abia State on hate speech messages during the 2019 general election?
- What influence does the hate speech messages have on voters in their choice of the candidate during the 2019 general elections?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
- Ho: Hate speech messages has no significant effect on voters choice of candidate.
- Ha: Hate speech messages has a significant effect on voters choice of candidate.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study is partly geared towards stressing the importance of engaging the masses by political stakeholders. It hints on choosing appropriate, cost effective and alternative communication strategies that take advantage of technological advancement to expand reach and utilize platforms where target audience (masses) spend their time. Academically, the findings of this study will add more knowledge to the existing literature on media effect theories and public relations. It will also serve as a reference for future researchers that may want to undertake a research on a similar study.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study is to critically assess the influence of hate speech on voters choice in Abia state. The study will by extension assess the channel of exposure to hate speech messages among voters in Abia state, assess the perception of voters in Abia State on hate speech messages, and determine the influence of hate speech messages on voters in their choice of the candidate. The study will solely focus on the 2019 general election.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
Like in every human endeavour, the researcher encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. More so, the researcher simultaneously engaged in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.
1.9 Definition of Terms
The process by which a people decide their rulers and assign persons to ruler-ship positions.
Political communication has been described as “the process by which political information is sent to those who may be affected by those allocated or who take such duty”.
Hate speech refers to any statement that targets an individual or group based on characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, religion, race, or physical or mental handicap
1.10 Organization of the Study
The study is categorized into five chapters. The first chapter presents the background of the study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, research questions and hypothesis, the significance of the study, scope/limitations of the study, and definition of terms. The chapter two covers the review of literature with emphasis on conceptual framework, theoretical framework, and empirical review. Likewise, the chapter three which is the research methodology, specifically covers the research design, population of the study, sample size determination, sample size, and selection technique and procedure, research instrument and administration, method of data collection, method of data analysis, validity and reliability of the study, and ethical consideration. The second to last chapter being the chapter four presents the data presentation and analysis, while the last chapter(chapter five) contains the summary, conclusion and recommendation.
Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:
This chapter summarizes the findings on the influence of hate speech on voters choice in Abia State using 2019 general elections as a case study. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.
5.2 Summary of the Study
In this study, our focus was on the influence of hate speech on voters choice in Abia State using 2019 general elections as a case study. The study is was specifically carried out to ascertain the channel of exposure to hate speech messages among voters in Abia state during the 2019 general election, assess the perception of voters in Abia State on hate speech messages during the 2019 general election, and determine the influence of hate speech messages on voters in their choice of the candidate during the 2019 general elections.
The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 344 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are accredited voters who participated in the 2019 general elections in Abia State.
The study inferred that hate speech messages carried out by Nigeria political parties showed that political space in Nigeria still have the problem of socially tempted political problems. More importantly, politicians speeches in the name of election campaign are the indicator that Nigerian politicians are still not matured politically. Thus, the following conclusions are made:
- Social media, as it lacks gate-keeping increased voters’ exposure to hate speech messages in any given political elections especially in a third world country like Nigeria.
- Hate speech messages undermine the importance of political candidates in any given election of a democratic society.
- The usage of hate speech messages influenced voters’ choice of candidates during elections as it makes Nigerian voters swing from voting one party candidate to another.
Based on the responses obtained, the researcher proffers the following recommendations:
There is a need for political orientation from the grassroots to the national level. This is attainable when there are relentless public seminars, conferences, public lectures as well as inquiries that will be geared towards educating political parties, politicians, and citizens. The media should rise to their social obligation to avert hate speeches from being in the public domain before, during as well as after elections in Nigeria.
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