Prof. Nzomo Addresses High Commissioners of the Commonwealth

Analysis of the Impact of Media in the Coverage of International Criminal Court Charges Case Study of Kenya

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Media, the world over plays an important role in conveying information to its recipients. Sometimes this conveyance of information can either be objective or biased. In the case of Kenya, the media came out strongly especially during its coverage of the ICC charges following the disputed elections of 2007. In 2008, a Kenyan commission of inquiry handed to Kofi Annan a confidential list of people behind the violence. It asked him to give the list to the ICC if the government did not establish a tribunal. In 2011 the ICC, in turn, summoned six Kenyans in connection with violent acts. Kenya had never witnessed such large scale negative publicity like the post election violence. The statement of the problem in this study was the position the Kenyan media found itself to cover and report on the trials of war crimes suspects. The media was initially broadly supportive of the ICC proceedings and undertook its responsibility of informing the Kenyan citizens and the world at large of the happenings.   Despite the media‘s intention, the manner they undertook the proceedings has been received with mixed reactions from different quarters due to different positions taken by various stakeholders. The Africa Union for instance, was focal in supporting the Kenyan cases. However, its voice could be articulated by the international media which to great extent was ganged by hostile public opinion towards  the  ICC.  The  general  objective  of  this  research  study analyzed  the  role  of  media coverage of ICC cases on Africa international relations and the specific objectives analyzed the media coverage on Kenya cases at the ICC, it also examined the role of AU on Kenya‘s ICC diplomacy and finally examined the challenges of media diplomacy in Kenya‘s ICC cases. This research was guided by the Agenda Setting theory as articulated by McCombs and Shaw. Their main argument is that when the media emphasize an event they influence audience to see it as important. The media decide what the public should think about. It is normal for all human beings to think, but what they think about has been found by many communication scholars to be based on external forces, the main one, being the mass media. . The study used desktop research and  further analyzed  the role of AU  on  Kenya‘s  ICC  diplomacy,  the  challenges  of media diplomacy during Kenya‘s ICC cases. The findings of this study observed that the media in Kenya has been vulnerable because they have been operating in undefined, hostile and often changing political, social, economic, cultural and technological environment. The recommendations deduced from this study include stated that the media should be given more attention to investigative journalism in order carry out detailed articles on the matter rather relying heavily on covering events as they unfold.  This would give room for back grounding international relations issues in order to promote positive peace after an event.  Training of journalists on the entire subject of media coverage on international relations dealing with Africa would add value to their work and effectively articulate all issues. The print media should dedicate more space on international relations issues after an event has taken place. It should also be in a position to give warning of an impending occurrence that is about to take place. Finally it is necessary to carry out a similar study on the other media especially electronic to establish the role they play on the international relations of Africa with a specific focus on Kenya.

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