The Role Of The Media In Political Conflict Resolution: An Analysis Of The Saba Sabarally In Kenya
This research sort to find out the role of the media in political conflict resolution. The objectives of the research were to examine whether the political bigwigs successfully used the media to promote peace in Kenya during the sabasaba rally, to establish the measures that government, stakeholders and media houses have put in place towards peace-building during the sabasaba annual rally and to make recommendations towards the use of the media in promoting and enhancing peace-building in Kenya. This study finds that some ethnic radio stations incited fear and hatred particularly. It also argues that local language radio stations increasingly flout codes of ethics. Talk shows on these radio stations represent a greater risk on media freedom, while talk hosts need to be sensitized on the value of responsible reporting. Although local language and mainstream media played an important role in calming the violent situation and promoting dialogue, this thesis posts that there is a need to strengthen that role by supporting genuine and independent media which form a critical contribution to lasting peace, that media practitioners need to be equipped with conflict sensitive reporting skills. Moreover, it argues that Kenyan news media should invest and develop a journalism practice that can cope and address critical issues underlying conflict situations. In terms of election coverage, media houses need to be advised and provided with guidelines in time, on how to handle the release of election results and that they should work together with the Electoral Commission and verify results to avoid speculations. This research recommends that restrictions of freedom of the press and of expression should be clearly and narrowly defined to ensure that they do not infringe on legitimate speech or go beyond the scope of harmful speech. Suggested measures to prohibit the abuse of media freedom and promotion of peaceful co-existence include a review of Kenya’s media legislation.