ROLE OF MEDIA IN CONFLICT SITUATIONS (A CASE STUDY OF 2007/2008 ELECTORAL CONFLICT IN NAKURU COUNTY)

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Many scholars argue that the media plays a significant role in reporting conflict. The nature of that role – as a perpetuator of conflict or agent for peace – largely depends on the framing and agenda setting of the media. Media can also play a crucial role in informing public about conflicts, analyzing it and helping to resolve them. Kenya has had a fair share of conflicts and some are still being experienced today. The 2007/8 post-election violence was however the most devastating in terms of deaths, displacement and destruction of property. Nakuru County was one of the worst affected counties during this period. It is therefore useful to find out whether media covered it sensationally or otherwise. Conflict theory and peace journalism theory were used to guide the study. The two theories brought out the issues of resources and conflicts and how journalists should informatively report on them. The aim of this study was to analyze the role of media in conflict situations, with reference to 2007/08 Post Election Violence in Kenya and Nakuru County as a case area. The specific objectives were to explore the causes of the post-election violence in Nakuru County, to establish the extent to which media escalated and/or deescalated violence during the 07/2008 PEV in Nakuru County and to assess the impact of the media reports on the 2007/2008 post-election violence in Nakuru County. The research used descriptive cross-sectional survey as the research design. The study targeted population of individuals in Nakuru County who reside in the conflict area and also journalists who covered the conflict. Questionnaires were used for primary data collection. Personal interviews were also used to get in-depth data. After data was collected descriptive statics were used for the purpose of data analysis, the data analysis tool used was statistical package for social science (SPSS version 20) while data was presented in tables. The findings will be used by policy makers and the Media industry to formulate policies, benchmark and tailor trainings programs which focus on peace journalism.

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