Contribution of print media in the development of East African Community (EAC) integration: A case study of Nation newspapers
Nyagwa, Abel A
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It is a fact that mass media sets the agenda for the audience on important issues and regional integration is not exempt. Media coverage of the East African Community (EAC) integration issues has had an influence on the perception of the members of the bloc. The study: Contribution of Print Media in the EAC integration: A Case Study of Nation Newspapers is aimed at examining the treatment of stories and advertisements. It examines the size, placement and frequency of EAC stories and advertisements by the newspapers. The findings of the study could assist in strengthening the editorial content to enable member states citizens appreciate each other and cultivate a sense of togetherness, and in turn spur further development of the EAC. The media can catalyze the integration process or facilitate its disintegration as was witnessed in the break-up of the first EAC. The media then was an agent of discord. The study employed content analysis to examine how the Nation newspaper has articulated issues touching on EAC during the period between 1 st May and 31 st July, 2010. The study also interviewed five key media personalities who were chosen through purposive sampling method to give in-depth information on the coverage of the integration stories and give their opinion on the way forward with a view to helping the EAC realize its goal of being able to compete with the other regional blocs globally. The study concluded that the Nation newspaper has not highlighted EAC related stories effectively. For instance, in terms of placement most stories were either placed on the centre spread pages, letters to the editor or fillers, a confirmation that the paper was treating them as insignificant. This is because the placement of articles in a publication is an indicator of the seriousness with which the editorial team regards a particular issue. As a result, the study recommends that more studies be carried out to investigate the specific drawbacks caused by the media in the quest to promote the EAC integration.