Research Report: Media, discussion and attitudes in fragile contexts

 

This report forms part of a growing body of work that attempts to understand the role of media in influencing conflict. 

Publication date: October 2015

Authors: Will Taylor and Chris Snow

Drawing primarily on quantitative data from nationally representative surveys collected for BBC Media Action programming in Kenya and Nigeria, the paper develops and tests the hypothesis that balanced and inclusive media-induced discussion can be a positive force in mitigating attitudes associated with conflict. The results reveal a rich but complicated picture.

We find relatively consistent evidence in both countries that our discussion-oriented media programmes are strongly linked to private discussion among family, friends and others. Evidence from Kenya also suggests that exposure to debate-style programming is potentially linked to public political discussion, but that this relationship is likely to be mediated through other variables such as private political discussion. Finally, in both cases, both private and public discussion is strongly associated with individual attitudes towards conflict. However, the relationship is a complex one and bears further examination.

The paper concludes by summarising some of the more interesting empirical findings emerging from this exercise and mapping out areas for future research.