Prof. Nzomo Addresses High Commissioners of the Commonwealth

The Role of Mass Media in Combating International Security Challenges: The Case of Wildlife Trafficking and Terrorism in Kenya

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The media has an important role in combating security challenges: it informs and educates the public on various issues of insecurity, as well as, the proposed and the implemented strategies. In the recent past, Kenya has experienced a wave of terrorism and wildlife crimes. The conduct and the role of the mainstream media in the fight against these insecurity challenges is an issue of great concern to the government and the general public. The media, through their news coverage influences the public attitude towards governments‘ policies related to security and this, in turn, has a direct impact on their overall effectiveness. The objective of this project was to examine the role and the impact of mass media in combating international security challenges: a comparative case of wildlife trafficking and terrorism in Kenya. A qualitative method of data collect was used to analyze a sample of television clips and local newspaper columns on how the media reports these security problems. Results showed that   the print and audio-visual media are inconsistent and under reports certain kinds of insecurity such as wildlife trafficking compared to those of terrorism. The media covers incidents of terrorism in different ways than those of wildlife, an aspect that causes misinformation and misleading the public on important matters. Additionally, the analysis found that most of the Medias engage in sensationalization and framing of news stories to influence certain public agenda. The approaches used are not objective and informative which  undermines  public awareness  on  important  issues  related  to  security. However, the study acknowledges that the Kenyan media has a significant role in the fight against national insecurities and recommends that it should avoid emphasizing dramatic, violent  and  conflicting accounts  on  terrorism  and wildlife trafficking.  Lastly,  journalists should maintain high levels of ethical professionalism and adhere to the code of conduct when covering matters of national security.

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