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The fear factor is a main thing: how radio influences anxiety and political attitudes


Written by Mareike Schomerus

In this journal article, the authors investigate how being exposed to media influences levels of anxiety and political attitudes in conflict-affected areas. Exploiting exogenous variation in signal strength of a radio station in South Sudan’s Western Equatoria State, they compare original qualitative and quantitative data from areas with differing radio coverage. Civilians living in areas with more exposure to radio are more afraid of attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). This anxiety means civilians rely more on a civilian militia, the arrow boys, and less on the state army. Hence media, through fear, can contribute to changing social and political structures.

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Anouk S. Rigterink and Mareike Schomerus