Framing the national dialogue: an analysis of television framing of the national dialogue by citizen television
The media remains a critical source of information to the masses especially on public policy. For Kenya especially political matters and issues of governance are heavily brought out in the media but majorly as contest between political factions. In the multiparty era of Kenyan politics, the media has been credited for facilitating the expansion of the democratic space for politicians as well as the citizenry. This study stems from the National dialogue proposal by the opposition CORD coalition and the ensuing debate for a period of 39 days. The study sought to identify the media frames employed by Citizen TV journalists in the coverage and facilitation of the national dialogue. Key themes of Media framing and Agenda setting informed this study as it sought to identify the frames and nature of arguments advanced. Having reviewed existing literature and finding out that gaps do exist in as far media framing study is concerned. Previous studies have focused mainly on newspaper literature. This study reviewed Citizen TV content specifically on the national dialogue to identify the frames. A case study design was chosen for its descriptive nature to probe this topic. The study used content analysis on the content aired during the target period and complemented by interviews with journalists who were involved in the national dialogue. The interviews also provided insights on the editorial policy used by journalists in framing the national dialogue. The findings were analysed both quantitatively and qualitatively to respond to the research questions of media frames, prominence of the national dialogue as well as in identifying the key arguments advanced in the national dialogue coverage. This study identified three key media frames adopted by Citizen TV in its reportage and coverage of the national dialogue. These were the political rivalry, Episodic and political sobriety frames. The study also found out that the national dialogue was accorded high prominence by the station with the public interest concern guiding the prominence. Further the study established key issues that guided the coverage as Security, CORD agenda and retrogressive activity advanced by political leaders. The study recommends that journalists involved in political coverage do due diligence in verifying claims floated by politicians. They should carry out prior research before conducting talk shows to check the actual status of issues of concern. The study also recommends for further research into the media effects of the media frames identified. This study was conducted between July and September 2015.