Beyond the Failing Justice System: The Emerging Confluence of Mob Justice and Social Media in Nigeria

  • Temitope Yetunde Bello

Abstract

The phenomenal frequency of mob attacks on suspects of varying offenses in Nigeria has ceased to be merely a local concern among justice dispensation stakeholders and within Nigerian communities. Social media is evolving as an instrumental trigger of “jungle justice” and has consequently situated mob justice as a global issue that requires critical academic attention. The essence of this research is to expound on the evolving journalistic functions of social media as projectors of actions and reactions of the mob and extra-judicial activities. The paper examines the social news channel, the nature of the news agents, the contents (mob attacks) and the effects of these contents on the users. (Social) Media Effect theory is employed to establish that there is a relationship between media and mob justice. This relationship is described via the accessibility principle that forms part of the cognitive process model of media effect theory. Netnography is used to obtain information by sending unstructured questions to social media users on online platforms, and the data obtained are qualitatively analyzed. Findings from the research establish that social media is an extension of the street mob and enabler of mob justice.

Published
2019-12-13