Social Media and its Impact on Young Men & Women's Political Participation in Fiji

35 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2017

See all articles by Romitesh Kant

Romitesh Kant

The University of the South Pacific, Suva

Glen Finau

University of the South Pacific

Jope Tarai

University of the South Pacific

Jason Titifanue

University of the South Pacific; La Trobe University

Date Written: April 1, 2015

Abstract

Fiji’s youth population (18-35 years) is around 37%. Since the Fiji military coup in 2006, the media has been working within stringent and at times impossible conditions. In essence, factors such as the Media Industry Decree hindered media attempts to holistically report political events. As such, the youth have been exposed to only one dominant set of interests the 2006 coup. However, despite this limitation, in amongst others, there have been spaces for which opposing and critical information has been made publicly accessible. In the early days of the coup it was through blogs (Walsh, 2010; Foster, 2007). As Fiji’s transition to democracy materialized in 2012, social media has evolved as the ‘new and safe’ space and public sphere for political discourse. It has been noted that citizens can actively engage information which may be restricted in traditional media, due to the constraining political and media conditions. The claims that young people are politically apathetic and are neglecting their duty to participate in many democratic societies worldwide have been rebutted by a growing number of academics over the recent years (Loader, 2007; Marsh, O’Toole, & Jones, 2007). Without doubt many youth have indeed become disillusioned with traditional, mainstream political parties and with those who claim to speak on their behalf. But this should not be misconstrued as a lack of interest on the part of youth with the political issues that influence their everyday lived experience.

Keywords: Social Media, Young Women, Youth, Fiji, Women’s Political Participation, Fiji Elections

Suggested Citation

Kant, Romitesh and Finau, Glen and Tarai, Jope and Titifanue, Jason, Social Media and its Impact on Young Men & Women's Political Participation in Fiji (April 1, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2954890 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2954890

Romitesh Kant

The University of the South Pacific, Suva ( email )

Glen Finau (Contact Author)

University of the South Pacific ( email )

Laucala Campus
Suva
Fiji

Jope Tarai

University of the South Pacific ( email )

Jason Titifanue

University of the South Pacific ( email )

La Trobe University

Institute for Human Security and Social Change
Victoria 3552, 3086
Australia

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