e-ISSN 2231-8542
ISSN 1511-3701

Home / Regular Issue / JTAS Vol. 29 (3) Sep. 2021 / JSSH-8004-2021


Newspaper Exposure, Efficacy Feeling and Political Apathy among Youths in South-East Nigeria

Joshua Aghogho Erubami, Paul Bebenimibo and Edith Ugochi Ohaja

Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, Volume 29, Issue 3, September 2021


Keywords: Media malaise, media mobilisation, newspaper news, political apathy, political cynicism, political efficacy, youth inclusion

Published on: 27 September 2021

The spate of youths’ political apathy in Nigeria remains a constant source of worry to stakeholders. Nevertheless, efforts to stem the tide have been largely unsuccessful. Studies indicate that many youths rely on newspapers and other mass media for political information, and such reliance may influence their general political behaviour. This study examines the influence of newspaper reports on the extent of political apathy among young people in Southeast Nigeria using a sample of 384 respondents selected through a multistage sampling technique. It also evaluates the roles played by political efficacy and news perception in youths’ extent of political involvement. Findings show that obtaining political news from newspaper is positively associated with an increased feeling of political efficacy (rs(379) = .567**, p = <.05) but negatively related to reduced political apathy among youths (rs(379) = -.525**, p = <.05). Also, many young people tend to perceive newspaper political reports to lack depth, objectivity, and accuracy. This perception tends to be negatively associated with their extent of political apathy (rs(379) = -.427*, p = <.05). Therefore, newspaper coverage must pay more attention to reporting on important political issues that will enable the public to take self-determined action consistent with the social responsibility of the press.

  • Ademilokun, M., & Taiwo, R. (2013). Discursive strategies in newspaper campaign advertisements for Nigeria’s 2011 elections. Discourse & Communication, 7(4), 435-455.

  • Aghamelu, F. C. (2013). The role of the mass media in the Nigerian electoral process. Unizik Journal of Arts and Humanities, 14(2), 154-172.

  • Agu, S. U., Okeke, V. O. S., & Idike, A. N. (2013). Voters’ apathy and revival of genuine political participation in Nigeria. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 4(3), 439-448.

  • Akpoghiran, I. P. (2014). A simple guide to project research writing. Eke Graphics Publishers.

  • Apuke, O. D., & Apollos, I. N. (2017). Public perception of the role of Facebook usage in political campaigns in Nigeria. International Journal of Community Development and Management Studies, 1, 85-102.

  • Ardèvol-Abreu, A., Diehl, T., & Gil de Zúñiga, H. (2017). Antecedents of internal political efficacy incidental news exposure online and the mediating role of political discussion. Politics, 39(1), 82-100.

  • Asemah, E. S., Gujbawu, M., Ekhareafo, D. O., & Okpanachi, R. A. (2017). Research methods and procedures in mass communication (2nd ed). Matkol Press.

  • Asiru, H. T., Ogutu, E. A., & Orwenjo, D. O. (2018). Events and actors representation in selected Nigerian daily newspapers. Ghana Journal of Linguistics, 7(1), 84-104.

  • Bakker, T. P., & de Vreese, C. H. (2011). Good news for the future? Young people, internet use, and political participation. Communication Research, 38(4), 451-470.

  • Baltar, F., & Brunet, I. (2012). Social research 2.0: Virtual snowball sampling method using Facebook. Internet Research, 22(1), 57-74.

  • Bandura, A. (2001). Social cognitive theory: An agentic perspective. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 1-26.

  • Busse, B., Hashem-Wangler, A., & Tholen, J. (2015). Two worlds of participation: Young people and politics in Germany. The Sociological Review, 63, 118-140.

  • Chiweshe, M. K. (2017). Social networks as anti-revolutionary forces: Facebook and political apathy among youth in urban Harare, Zimbabwe. Africa Development, 42(2), 129-147.

  • Diemer, M. A., & Rapa, L. J. (2016). Unraveling the complexity of critical consciousness, political efficacy, and political action among marginalized adolescents. Child Development, 87(1), 221-238.

  • Donaldson, E. A., Hoffman, A. C., Zandberg, I., & Blake, K. (2017). Media exposure and tobacco product addiction beliefs: Findings from the 2015 health information national trends survey (hints–fda 2015). Addictive Behaviours, 72, 106-113.

  • Edogoh, L. O. N., Ezeh, N. C., & Samson, A. C. (2015). Evaluation of newspaper reading habits of youths in Anambra State, Nigeria. New Media and Mass Communication, 37, 63-71.

  • Ejiofor, L. U. (2007). Politics and mobilisation: A handbook of practical political behaviour. Willy Rose & Appleseed Publishing.

  • Erubami, A. J. (2020). Public perception of social media contributions to political participation processes in Delta State, Nigeria. Acta Universitatis Danubius. Communicatio, 14(1), 110-126.

  • Gastil, J., & Xenos, M. (2010). Of attitudes and engagement: Clarifying the reciprocal relationship between civic attitudes and political participation. Journal of Communication, 60(2), 318-343.

  • Gyimah-Brempong, M., & Kimenyi, K. (2013). Youth policy and the future of African development (Working Paper No. 9.). Brookings Institution.

  • Ha, L., Wang, F., Fang, L., Yang, C., Hu, X., Yang, L., Yang, F., & Xu, Y. (2012). Political efficacy and the use of local and national news media among undecided voters in a swing state: A study of general population voters and first-timer college student voters. School of Media and Communication Faculty Publications, 4.

  • Henson, R. (2002). From adolescent angst to adulthood: Substantive implication and measurement dilemmas in the development of teacher efficacy research. Educational Psychologist, 37(3), 137-150.

  • Hooghe, M. (2002). Watching television and civic engagement: Disentangling the effects of time, programs, and stations. The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, 7(2), 84-104.

  • Idike, A. N. (2014). Political parties, political apathy and democracy in Nigeria: Contending issues and the way forward. Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review, 4(3), 2-10.

  • Ikpegbu, E., & Ihejirika, W. (2020). Newspaper coverage of issue-based political statements and campaigns in Nigeria’s election process (November 2018 – February 2019). Galactica Media: Journal of Media Studies, 2(2), 66-86.

  • Independent National Electoral Commission & Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (2011).Voter apathy and the 2011 election in Nigeria: A research report. Muhamsaid Commercial Press.

  • Johnson, T. J. & Kaye, B. K. (2003). A boost or bust for democracy? How the web influenced political attitudes and behaviours in the 1996 and 2000 presidential elections. Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, 8(3), 9-34.

  • Jung, N., Kim, Y., & Gil de Zúñiga, H. (2011). The mediating role of knowledge and efficacy in the effects of communication on political participation. Mass Communication & Society 14(4), 407-430.

  • Karamat, A., & Farooq, A. (2016). Emerging role of social media in political activism: Perceptions and practices. Journal of South Asian Studies, 31(1), 381-396.

  • Kenski, K., & Stroud, N. J. (2006). Connections between internet use and political efficacy, knowledge, and participation. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 50(2), 173-192.

  • Kushin, M. J., & Yamamoto, M. (2010). Did social media really matter? College students’ use of online media and political decision making in the 2008 Election. Mass Communication & Society, 13(5), 608-630.

  • Lee, K. M. (2006). Effects of internet use on college students’ political efficacy. Cyber Psychology & Behavior, 9(4), 415-422.

  • Levy, B. L. M. (2013). An empirical exploration of factors related to adolescents’ political efficacy. Educational Psychology, 33(3), 357-390.

  • Lompo, M. L., & Bago, J.-L. (2018). How does exposure to mass media affect HIV testing and HIV-related knowledge among adolescents? Evidence from Uganda. Global Journal of Health Science, 10(9), 1-10.

  • Loveless, M. (2010). Understanding media socialization in democratizing countries: Mobilization and malaise in Central and Eastern Europe. Comparative Politics, 42(4), 457-474.

  • Madueke, O., Nwosu, C., Ogbonnaya, C. Anumadu, A., & Okeke, V. O. S. (2017). The role of social media in enhancing political participation in Nigeria. Journal of Arts and Management, 2(3), 44-54.

  • Mengistu, M. M. (2017). The quest for youth inclusion in the African politics: Trends, challenges and prospects. Journal of Socialomics, 6(1), 1-5.

  • Moreno, R. R., Molina, M. C., & Moreno, R. M. (2013). Cognitive mobilization and political blogs. International Network of Business and Management, 1, 48-67.

  • Morrell, M. E. (2003). Survey and experimental evidence for a reliable and valid measure of internal political efficacy. Public Opinion Quarterly, 67(4), 589-602.

  • National Bureau of Statistics. (2018). Demographic statistics bulletin.

  • National Youth Policy. (2009). Second national youth policy document of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2009.

  • Niemi, R. G., Craig, S. C., & Mattei, F. (1991). Measuring internal political efficacy in the 1988 National Election Study. The American Political Science Review, 85(4), 1407-1413.

  • NOI Polls (2015, January 27). Nigerians claim that political campaigns are not addressing key issues in the country: Countdown to 2015 election poll series.

  • Nworgu, B. G. (2006). Educational research: Basic issues and methods (3rd ed). University Trust Publishers.

  • Oboh, G. E. (2016). Reflecting on the Nigerian media, elections, and the African democracy. Sage Open, 6(3), 1-10.

  • Ojebuyi, B. R., & Chukwunwike, A. C. (2018). Gender bias in media representation of political actors: Examples from Nigeria’s 2015 presidential election. Legon Journal of the Humanities, 5(2), 251-260.

  • Oji, M. & Erubami, A. J. (2020). Discourse on social media use and reading culture of Nigerian youths. Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 9(6), 105-113.

  • Omede, A. J., & Ojibara, I. I. (2017). Youth and political participation in Kwara state, Nigeria. Afro Asian Journal of Social Sciences, 8(3), 1-39.

  • Pasek, J., Kenski, K., & Romer, D. (2006). America’s youth and community engagement: How use of mass media is related to civic activity and political awareness in 14- to 22-year-olds. Communication Research, 33(3), 115-135.

  • Sadler, G. R., Lee, H. C., Lim, R.-S., & Fullerton, J. (2010). Research article: Recruitment of hard-to-reach population subgroups via adaptations of the snowball sampling strategy. Nursing & Health Sciences, 12(3), 369-374.

  • Saka, L., (2010) Agent of destruction: Youth and the politics of violence in Kwara State, Nigeria.Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa, 12(8), 10 - 22.

  • Scheufele, D.A., & Nisbet, M.C.(2003).Being a citizen online: New opportunities and dead ends.Harvard International Journal of Press / Politics, 7(3), 55 - 75.

  • Segaard, S. B. (2015). Perceptions of social media: A joint arena for voters and politicians? Nordicom Review, 36(2), 65-78.

  • Strömbäck, J., & Shehata, A. (2010). Media malaise or a virtuous circle? Exploring the causal relationships between news media exposure, political news attention and political interest. European Journal of Political Research, 49(5), 575-597.

  • Syam, H. M., & Nurrahmi, F. (2020). “I don’t know if it is fake or real news” How little Indonesian University students understand social media literacy. Jurnal Komunikasi: Malaysian Journal of Communication, 36(2), 92-105.

  • Tan, K. (2012). Political apathy is harmful. The Oracle.

  • Ufuophu-Biri, E., & Ojoboh, L. O. (2017). Social media as a tool for political resistance: Lessons from the Arab spring and the Nigerian protests. Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 6(1), 61-66.

  • United Nations Youth. (2013). Youth, political participation and decision-making.

  • Waqas, E. (2017). Analysing malaise and mobilization: The effects of media on political support and European identity in old and new member states. Politics in Central Europe, 13(2/3), 33-51.

  • Wimmer, R. D., & Dominick, J. R. (2011). Mass media research: An introduction (9th ed.). Wadsworth.

  • Yakubu, Y. A. (2012). Democracy and political apathy in Nigeria (1999-2011). European Scientific Journal, 8(20), 38-48.

  • YIAGA Africa. (2019). Factsheet on youth and the 2019 elections in Nigeria.

ISSN 1511-3701

e-ISSN 2231-8542

Article ID


Download Full Article PDF

Share this article

Recent Articles