Limits of Peace Journalism: Media Reportage of kenya”s 2017 General Elections

In 2008, Kenya hovered on the brink of a war arising from the political
violence that followed the general elections. In reportage akin to that of the
infamous Rwandan genocide of 1994, the Kenyan media pitched the country’s
different ethnoreligious groups against each other. The result was a wanton
loss of lives and property, as well as a highly volatile socio-political climate.
By 2013 when the country was about to conduct another general election,
apprehension ran high amongst the populace. However, in what seemed
like a sharp deviation from what had happened in 2008, media reportage
of the election was more conflict-sensitive. Although there were pockets of
irregularities, the 2013 election recorded less violence and the media was
lauded as a key reason for that. In the 2017 election, the media was once again
at the centre of public discourse, this time accused of sacrificing democracy in
the cause of peace. Public observers accused the media of downplaying and/
or underreporting irregularities and outright election rigging for fear of a
possible outbreak of violence. The argument by many journalists and media
practitioners was that the media practised peace journalism. By analysing
selected articles from Kenya’s mainstream media, this article examines peace
journalism in its many complexities and contextual dynamics, in order to
clarify the thin line between peace journalism and advocacy.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: election reportage., elections, framing, media, media framing, peace journalism
journal of african elections vol18 number 1 transparent democratic governance in africa