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Salience in the Media and Political Trust in Nigeria: The Mediating Role of Political Participation

Oladipupo Abdullahi Akinola, Bahiyah Omar and Lambe Kayode Mustapha

Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities, Pre-Press

DOI: https://doi.org/10.47836/pjssh.29.4.03

Keywords: Corruption, political participation, political trust, salience in the media

Published: 2021-11-05

Political distrust is prevalent in many parts of the world. Scholars have discovered many factors affecting political trust, but they have paid little attention to the influence of issue salience in the media on political trust. Focusing on the role of media in assigning salience to corruption issues in Nigeria, this study examined the influence of mainstream media and social media on political trust. In addition, we treated political participation as a mediating factor and investigated its effect on the relationship between perceived salience of corruption in media and political trust. A survey was conducted on a sample of 688 Nigerians aged above 18 years old using a multi-stage cluster sampling technique. The data was later analyzed using Partial Least Square-Structural Equation Modelling (PLS-SEM). We found that salience in media predicted political trust, and the effect was stronger for social media than mainstream media contexts. Our findings also suggested that political participation directly affected political trust and was a significant mediator that affected the relationships between salience in the mainstream media (SMM) and political trust and between salience in the social media (SSM) and political trust. The results imply that salience in media leads to political participation, leading to political trust. This study supports the assumptions of both agenda-setting and agenda-melding theories. It suggests that policymakers in Nigeria should adopt media, especially social media, to restore the people’s trust in government.

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