Social Media and its Impact on Young Men & Women's Political Participation in Fiji
35 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2017
Date Written: April 1, 2015
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
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