The Internet and Activists’ Digital Media Practices: A case of the Indigenous People of Biafra Movement in Nigeria

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Author: Emmanuel S. Nwofe, University of Bradford, UK
Email: E.Nwofe@student.bradford.ac.uk
Published: August 01, 2019
https://doi.org/10.22492/ijmcf.6.1.02

Citation: Nwofe, E. S. (2019). The Internet and Activists’ Digital Media Practices: A case of the Indigenous People of Biafra Movement in Nigeria. IAFOR Journal of Media, Communication & Film, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijmcf.6.1.02


Abstract

Previous studies have highlighted some important contributions that participants’ digital activism play in the process of protest coordination and mobilisation. The literature suggests that individuals’ digital practices contribute to the dynamism of social movements’ actions for social and political change. Across Africa, there is limited literature examining how social actors use the internet or the variations in the use of the internet for socio-political activism. While many studies focused on leaderless mass actions across the world, few focused on social movement organisations, much less in Nigeria. Understanding of the variations in activist’s digital media practices is thereby limited, with the dynamics in the mobilising potentials of the internet in Nigeria under-explored. Second, most studies only focused on the empowering effects of the internet as the main variable, ignoring the concomitant impacts of activists’ media such as radio in the mobilisation efforts of social movements in Africa. This article attempts to fill this gap, by examining variations in IPOB protesters’ digital media practices and their levels of involvement in the Biafra independence struggle. The article aims to understand protesters’ digital support roles, motivations, constraints and sources of mobilising information. Using survey data (N = 113), the article argues that through protesters’ digital media practices in the services of the IPOB protests, complemented with the pervasiveness of Radio Biafra ideological programmes, the idea of Biafra was constituted and made visible in the Nigerian public sphere. Implications of the internet as the only alternative media for African social movements are discussed.

Keywords

digital activism, IPOB movement, Internet, activist media, social movement, Biafra, Nigeria