Investigative journalism in the era of promotional politics: The case of Nigeria

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In the current democratic dispensation in Nigeria in particular, and Africa in general, the public reputation of politicians and people in authority has acquired a new higher premium on which the political context is fought. Citizens make use of available information and knowledge about the reputation of politicians to arrive at rational choices. In the context of the responsibility placed on journalism in a liberal democracy, the media is looked upon to guarantee citizenship by, among others, making politicians and people in authority accountable. The symbolism that Watergate bears and brings to modern journalism lies in monitoring power and authority in the service of the general interests of society. For those at the center of its practice, investigative journalism provides journalists with the right to detach from vested interests in society and the capacity to bark at power on behalf of the public. Using a historical research methodology, this paper explores the role of investigative journalism in making power accountable in the contemporary era of promotional politics. This paper concludes that the challenges confronting investigative journalism in Nigeria go beyond the hostile illiberal democratic environment within which journalists operate. Rather, journalists are confronted with structural, institutional and political challenges in making power accountable, as both the state and politicians employ various means, including the use of promotional intermediaries to launder their public image.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2244153
JournalCogent Social Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Nigerian politics
  • democracy
  • information subsidy
  • investigative journalism
  • promotional politics
  • symbolic capital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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