The impact of media clampdown on Kenya's Post election violence: the case of Kibera Division Nairobi
When the government clamped down on live media coverage during the post election violence in January 2008, the assumption was that this would militate against further wide scale conflagrations that were presumably being promoted and even initiated by the media stations. This study comes in the backdrop of the 2010 Constitution of Kenya (PCK) referendum and the role the media continues to play in political discourse and more importantly political violence. Specifically, there has also been ongoing debate on the role vernacular media houses play and whether it is indeed time to reformulate the Communications Commission of Kenya Act 1999 and possibly deregister the vernacular stations altogether or strictly control their programming. If there is a grain of truth in the assertion that the mass media misdirected and even incited audiences on the events following the blotched 2007 General Elections, this study hypothesized that curtailing media freedom and/or out rightly closing down media stations as it happened, might as well have denied them the only opportunity to quell the fire they had presupposedly lit. Given that every media station has a category of loyal audiences and the fact that the government tried unsuccessfully to use alternative means to dispel information covered the media shows that the Government's decision to clampdown on the media was a policy flop. This study used the survey method to establish what communication channels replaced the live broadcasts and their impact on the violence. In particular the study looked at what were the alternative sources of venting after live broadcasts that had been shut down, the impact of closure of live broadcasts on the violence and the origination of grapevine after the clampdown. The study adopted an exploratory approach in collecting and analyzing the data. The study area was Kibera in Nairobi Province. A combination of quantitative and qualitative data was collected through structured questionnaires. In sum, the study found that the media ban contributed to more violence and that a similar policy decision should not be implemented in the future.
University of Nairobi, Kenya