A content analysis of daily national newspapers' coverage of the Kofi Annan-led mediation talks on Kenya's post-election crisis
Ochichi, James P
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The media have a gargantuan role to play in conflict resolution. For instance, if people do not get information, they will rely on rumours and speculation and probably the situation of the crisis will grow from bad to worse. It is the media which enlighten society about the occurrence of a conflict and, in many cases, propose ways of resolving it. The functions of the media in as far as conflict is concerned are numerous and significant. This study set out to examine the coverage by the print media of the 2008 Kofi Annanled mediation talks in Kenya, precipitated by post-election political conflict. Its general objective was to analyze the daily national newspapers to determine their coverage of the Kofi Annan-led mediation talks on Kenya's post-election crisis. The specific objectives of the study were: To establish the extent and nature of daily national newspapers' coverage of the mediation talks, to find out the newspapers' portrayal of the key partners engaged in the mediation talks and to determine the agenda set by the newspapers with regard to resolving Kenya's 2007 post-election crisis. This study employed the content analysis techniques involving four daily Kenyan newspapers namely: Daily Nation, The Standard, Kenya Times and People Daily. The research limited itself to a period between January 22 and March 2, 2008. A total of 116 newspapers were analyzed (29 copies for each newspaper). Multi-stage sampling was used to select samples to be analyzed. The unit of analysis was stories, adverts, cartoons, and pictures that had been published by the papers on the Kofi Annan-led mediation talks. They were coded and analyzed accordingly. From the findings, the study revealed that the daily national newspapers covered the mediation talks extensively and intensively. Key partners in the talks were depicted both positively and negatively, and the media did set an agenda with regard to resolving Kenya's 2007 post-election crisis. The recommendation of this study is that practicing and aspiring journalists ought to be trained on mediation talks so as to be able to report from the point of knowledge.