The role of the print media in setting the peace agenda through conflict-sensitive reporting during the 2007 and 2013 elections in Kenya
Ouma, Isaiah O
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The main purpose of this study was to examine conflict-sensitive reporting during the 2007 and 2013 General Election in Kenya, and find out the possible explanations for any changes noted in conflict-sensitive reporting. Literature on conflict-sensitive reporting during elections and the role this plays in setting the agenda for peace was consulted. Through content analysis of the Daily Nation for 12 months - three months to 2007 election date and three months after election date, as well as three months prior to the March 4 2013 elections and three months after election - were examined for their conflict-sensitive front page coverage of elections. The data obtained was analysed and possible explanations for the findings presented. The main finding was that unlike in 2007, the media had embraced more conflict-sensitive reportage in 2013, mainly as a result of media houses, NGOs, training institutions and other stakeholders embracing conflict sensitive reporting skills. The agenda set in 2013 was more for peace compared to the 2007 agenda that tended to fan conflict; in fact critics have pointed out that the media preached peace at the expense of its watchdog mandate. Recommendations include the need for media houses and mass communication colleges to offer continuous training on media-sensitive journalism, professional news values and media ethics.