The role of media in curbing corruption in Kenya: the case of the Nation and the Standard media groups
Mutala, Ruth N
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This study focuses on corruption in Kenya and the roles that the media play in curbing the problem. According to the Transparency International corruption Index 20 II, Kenya lies towards the bottom as one of the most corrupt countries, at position 154 out of 183 with a perception Index of2.2. Over the years, billions of shillings have been lost through numerous corruption deals, hence deepening the levels of poverty in the country. The problem of corruption in Kenya has existed since independence and seems to only have increased with every new government. Due to the magnitude of the problem, it has become necessary to use all means possible to curb the menace. This study examined the roles that media play in the fight against corruption. Through the agenda setting function, the media have the potential to create awareness by keeping the corruption stories high on the public agenda. At the same time, the media through various gatekeepers, the reporters, the editors and the managers decide what information gets to the masses. The amount and type of information published in the dailies is influenced by various factors such as governance, media regulation and ownership. Both quantitative and qualitative data were used to investigate the roles that media play, the effect of reporting corruption stories and some of the challenges the media experience in performing these roles. Among the findings of the study were that the war against corruption cannot be won without the involvement of media. That the media playa crucial role in creating awareness as well as in putting the government in check and pressuring it to prosecute cases that were reported. It was also found out that a lot of gatekeeping was done from the various levels of management, the editorial team and that many corruption stories went unreported. The media were experiencing numerous challenges such as political influence and the influence of the owners of the media firms. There was need to enhance the freedom of the press (to protect journalists) both through the law and the in-house regulation, thus to ensure more effective and objective reporting of corruption stories and other stories of human interest.