Community radio in peace building: case of kibera’s pamoja fm in the 2007/2008 post election violence in Kenya
The role of the media, or even more specifically of community radio, in peace building is an already told story. However, as the concept of community radio spreads wide, there is need to refine that body of knowledge that deals with its efficiency and suitability for peace building. This project takes the opportunity presented by the 2007/2008 post election violence to assess the strengths and weaknesses of community radio. This is an in-depth study of the contribution and challenges of a particular community radio station (Pamoja FM) cast on a backdrop of a basic understanding of the media’s contribution in general. The study adopted a qualitative approach to data collection and analysis. Data was collected mainly through focus group discussions, oral interviews, books, journal articles, and newspaper articles. The study hinges on two theories i.e. the agenda setting theory and the Marxist theory of the media both of which place community radio ahead of the rest in community service. That notwithstanding, the study finds Pamoja FM’s performance particularly outstanding: the station was able to generate and effectively disseminate peace messages to the population thereby playing a pivotal role in institutionalizing peace in Kibera. This study is however not a celebration of a single case but a close look at what practices can be retained and what needs to be fixed. This study asserts that national peace machineries should tone down on the obsession with national media and pay attention to those community media especially radio stations genuinely committed to peace work.