An Analysis Of Challenges And Opportunities In Reporting Terrorism By Journalists In Kenya
The main purpose of this study was to analyze the challenges and opportunities in reporting terrorism by journalists in Kenya. The specific objectives were: to examine the challenges that journalists experience when reporting on terrorism in Kenya, to examine the various ways in which the media coverage of terrorism can compromise national security in Kenya, to examine the role of social media in the promotion of terrorist‟s agenda in Kenya, and to investigate how the media can objectively report on terrorism while safeguarding national interests in Kenya. The study utilized descriptive research design involving a survey and content analysis. The target population for this study was journalists who report on terrorism, security agencies charged with the mandate of managing terrorism and media trainers. The study adopted the purposive sampling technique to select a sample size of 90 respondents. Data was collected using questionnaires and one-on-one interviews with media trainers, generating both qualitative and quantitative data. The study found that majority of the respondents encountered challenges while reporting terrorism but they felt that journalists were well trained to survive the challenges particularly if guidelines on how to report on terrorism were set. The study also found that media coverage of terrorism compromises national security by running speculative stories and that constant broadcast of dramatic and explicit images of terrorist activities create tension, fear, anger and grief to the public. Further, the study found that media enhance the agenda of terrorists by reporting terrorism activities to promote the goals of terrorists. The study found that media reporting on terrorism can enhance national security interests through responsible journalism that boosts security and reduces the effect of terrorist activities by preaching peace in the country. The study recommended that journalists should avoid words that may seem to magnify the threat and fear in people, and tone down on negative rhetoric, avoid stories that may breed stereotypes against certain persons in the community and promote stories that unite people and rally them together in times of terror attacks. Journalists should also wholly embrace self-regulation and through its various organizations spearhead campaigns that create awareness on terrorism reporting among journalists.
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