A critical analysis of the role played by print media in the integration process of the East African Community (EAC): a case study of the East African Newspaper
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The study set out to find the impact of print media on issues of East African Integration. It was guided by five objectives which aimed at establishing the amount of coverage that print media gives to EAC issues, determining the issues given priority by the print media as regards EAC, establishing how print media frames issues related to EAC, establishing the accuracy, framing and balancing coverage of the East African Integration. The agenda setting theory was advanced to explain the role of print media in the integration process. The study results validated all that is advocated by the agenda setting theory. The notion is that the media cannot tell us what to think, but it always successful in telling us what to think about by selecting what content to publish, where to publish it (placement) and the type of language (framing) to use in the articles (McCombs and Shaw, 1972; Lang and Lang, 1983). Accordingly, agenda setting may lead to agenda building, defined as a 'collective process in which media, government and citizenry reciprocally influence one another, leading to formulation of policies like those related to the EAC. The study used content analysis as a survey design. This entailed analyzing the contents of the articles dealing with East African Integration. The newspaper that formed the basis of the study was The East African this is the only regional newspaper that covers issues related to East African Integration. In general the study shows that the print media as presented by The East African has a positive influence on issues of integration. Some of the articles published by the newspaper shows that trade, the economy, education, infrastructure and the common market protocol have benefited a lot from integration efforts. All the articles about these topics gives them a favorable coverage.