Television engagement with followers on Facebook: a case study of nation television during the 2016 elections in Uganda.
Alina, Marion Olga.
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This study investigates how traditional media of television struggles to retain hegemony in the online public sphere, where other players such as ordinary citizens co-produce content- initially a preserve of traditional media. The study is anchored in the theory of the public sphere as espoused by Jurgen Habermas (1989), as well as the agenda setting theory of McCombs and Shaw (1972). The context of the study is the 2016 elections in Uganda, part of which period social media was shut down in the country, to prevent what government described as an intention to use the platform for spreading lies. This effectively integrates the state in the struggle for hegemony on social media. The study therefore presents an interpretation of how each of these three entities: ordinary citizens, herein referred to as followers, the media and the state struggle to retain control of the Facebook communicative space. This study applies a combination of netnography and in-depth interviews to bring to empirical scrutiny the use of Facebook in Uganda. It concludes with the argument that traditional media‘s agenda setting role is in conflict with the discursive nature of Facebook as a public sphere. The study further draws a connection to the clamped down radio talk shows in Uganda, commonly known as ebimeeza, to argue that Facebook is Uganda‘s new ebimeeza. A new term, FaceBimeeza, is coined to explain this relationship.